One of our design principles at Desmos is to “delay feedback for reflection, especially during concept development activities.” This makes us weird, frankly, in Silicon Valley where no one ever got fired for promising “immediate feedback” in their math edtech.
We get it. Computers have an enormous advantage over humans in their ability to quickly give students feedback on certain kinds of work. But just because computers can deliver immediate feedback doesn’t mean they always should.
For example, Simmons and Cope (1993) found that students were more likely to use procedural strategies like trial-and-error in a condition of immediate feedback than a condition of delayed feedback.
This wasn’t unanimous, of course, but it was the prevailing sentiment. For most people, the feedback delay provoked thoughtfulness where the immediate feedback provoked trial-and-error.
We realize that the opposite of “immediate feedback” for many students is “feedback when my teacher returns my paper after a week.” Between those two options, we side with Silicon Valley’s preference for immediate feedback. But if computers can deliver feedback immediately, they can also deliver feedback almost immediately, after a short, productive delay. That’s the kind of feedback we design into our concept development activities.