A step-by-step guide to weaving online feedback

Weaving online feedback is one of the most important things e-facilitators do.

Weaving feedback means:

  • summarizing a discussion by finding threads of unity in the comments of participants and weaving them together into one piece of feedback to the group so that learner responses are connected
  • relating learners’ contributions to existing knowledge about the topic
  • recognizing the contributions made by learners
  • prompting learners to elaborate into a direction that further supports the learning outcomes (pre-set as well as constructed).

It is more than just summarizing a discussion. Instead it connects participants’ contributions to the workshop’s themes and applies higher level concepts to the participants’ ideas and experiences.

Weaving can be used to get either an open or a structured discussion back on track. It is also often be used to give meaningful feedback on teamwork.

When the participants have completed an online team task, it is not enough to get back to them with ‘Well done – now move on.’ They will want to know what it is that you liked in their work and why. Good feedback is a very important motivational factor and can also further promote team and group cohesion.

Feedback on teamwork in the form of a ‘woven’ message allows you to pull in the interesting comments from each participant. Ensure that you mention them all by name at least once in this feedback posting.

In the context of teamwork, I suggest to do this when the work has been completed. We don’t want to ‘interrupt’ teamwork online (except to clarify). It’s similar to how we don’t want to constantly look over the shoulders of our learners in face-to-face group work. We need to give them space to think, as well as negotiate and formulate solutions.

Replying to every message would not only be counter-productive, it would also create a huge workload for the facilitator. Weaving makes sure we show that we’ve been there all along and that we acknowledge all the hard work. This is highly motivational and has a positive impact on participation rates.

What does woven online feedback look like?

This is an extract from a piece of woven feedback (from one of the team tasks in the e-facilitation workshop):

Paul mentioned ‘listening skills’. I couldn’t agree more, yet it’s so often overlooked. Listening skills are an interesting aspect of the role requirements, because in fact we mean ‘reading skills’ – thanks for specifying this, Lisa. Now, we can all read – but are we good ‘readers’? Good reading skills are very often taken for granted. People tend to ‘browse’ through information, especially online, without absorbing the essence of the message, missing out on important guidance, instructions and content. A good e-facilitator needs to be thorough in the way he/she reads text, the text in the workshop/course and also the text in the many forum contributions posted by participants. It comes down to a strong sense for detail, which was suggested by Jean-Claude. This is indeed a very important skill to have. It allows the e-facilitator to offer tailored and meaningful feedback. More on this in this week’s resource on […]


Weaving step-by-step

In the earlier example, I am giving feedback to contributions by Paul, Lisa and Jean-Claude. The three points that I raise here in my feedback were initially part of their posts in their team’s forum.

How do I get from over one hundred forum posts (which is easily the case for any team task in a eWorkshop with 25 participants) to a piece of woven feedback?

This is how:

  1. For each team, prepare a Word document with subtitles that reflect the themes of your feedback (for increased readability, because woven feedback is typically a longish post)
  2. Go through the discussion in chronological order and copy snippets of all contributions (could be just a few key words telegram style or a full quote) into the Word document; put the name of the contributor in front of each snippet
  3. Put these snippets under the right subheading
  4. Identify the unifying themes
  5. Identify the points of disagreement
  6. Summarize by a sentence or bullet point or two for each of the themes, identifying points of agreement and disagreement, perhaps by giving examples, attributed to the originator
  7. Add your positive and reinforcing feedback.
  8. Add your criticism and point out omissions.
  9. Add your congratulations.
  10. Add your ‘meta’ (overall) comments or training points.
  11. If you wish to move on the discussion, ask specific but open-ended questions.
  12. Delete all the original data and create simple formatting for ease of reading.
  13. Post with a clear title and invite further comment.

The meta comments, examples and training points are all written out in another Word document which I keep open while I write the woven feedback. I continuously copy from that document and weave these points through the initial selection of contributions under a particular theme.

In this example, the feedback gets ‘sculpted (yes, it feels a bit like sculpting) as follows.

After going through the forums for the team task, I have a few pages of this:

Paul: listening skills

Lisa: reading skills

Jean-Claude: thorough reading with strong sense for detail

In my meta feedback document for this task I have the following paragraph about this topic specifically:

Listening skills is one of the essential aptitudes – yet often overlooked. In fact, in the online context, we mean ‘reading skills’. Now, we can all read – but are we good ‘readers’? Don’t take good reading skills for granted. People tend to ‘browse’ through information, especially online, without absorbing the essence of the message, missing out on important guidance, instructions and content. A good e-facilitator needs to be thorough in the way he/she reads text, the text in the workshop/course and also the text in the many forum contributions posted by participants. It comes down to a strong sense for detail, a very important skill to have. It allows the e-facilitator to offer tailored and meaningful feedback. More on this in this week’s resource on […]

Now read the feedback again. Have you noticed how weaving the meta text into the participants’ contributions makes the feedback feel like it’s written specifically for their team?

How much time does it take to weave online feedback?

Although online weaving may be time-consuming and challenging, it still reduces the workload compared to a situation where the facilitator replies to every message. It also has considerable didactical value as it provides an opportunity for the facilitator to make substantive interventions while at the same time recognizing and linking into the learners’ understandings of the course concepts.

It does take time of course. To give you a rough idea, 6-8 hours feedback writing for one team task for a group of 25 participants sounds about right. That’s 15-20 minutes per person, which I think is the least we can do considering they each put on average 8 hours of work in one team task. How awful would it feel to just receive a “well done” and a link to a model answer after doing all this work?

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36 Comments. Leave new

  • Kondwani Chapotera
    November 10, 2019 11:02 pm

    The “weaving” technique is quite helpful and has enhanced my knowledge though going through the technique one feels it may takke ages to get to that level (kidding). What appealed to me was the fact that I appreciated how this technique helped Anouk on the way she interconnects different contributions

  • Thank you. Well detailed and easy to understand.

  • Warren Dlamini
    October 7, 2020 5:11 pm

    weaving is very interesting because it assist you to summarize the contributions by the participants and also motivate them at the same time. this is because you mention thier names whilst you are weaving your feedback to them.

  • Anderw_oboth@wvi.org
    November 16, 2020 3:49 am

    Weaving is an important skill that every e-facilitator should have handy and this as well helped me realized that responding to every contribution increases facilitators workload however, summering participants contribution is motivational aspect in e-learning and keeps the cohesion among learners

  • Jennifer Fackrell
    November 17, 2020 9:00 pm

    Good weaving feedback can help to improve student learning and drive the creativity and curiosity that makes learning so worth while.

  • It is very interesting.

  • Samuel Babalola
    June 20, 2021 7:36 am

    Very insightful perspective on weaving. I have just learnt something New. Thank you.

  • Daniel Muvengi
    August 9, 2021 5:35 pm

    Great insights into weaving technique. It allows one to actually read the post by others and then make sense out of them

  • Maria Tokwani
    August 9, 2021 9:26 pm

    What a strong technique. When I volunteered to lead in one of the tasks in online learning, I wanted to give a summary of participants’ contributions but I thought it was rude to so.

  • Bruno Kitiaka Mfum'Andem
    August 9, 2021 10:14 pm

    Thank you very much Anouk, this is something new I am learning.

  • Weaving cements the synergy through acknowledging learners inputs by providing clarity and guidelines to the object of the learning intervention in summary.

  • The Weaving seems so helpful especially when dealing with large groups

  • Florence Kisirkoi
    November 8, 2021 6:12 am

    Wow. This is very interesting. Making comments to students work is not just , saying ‘good” ‘well done’ ‘poor’ fair’ It involves weaving, connecting the ideas with the course goals. Honestly this is a new concept for me. No wonder Cath, Irene and Tony make very rich comments.

  • Geeta Krishna
    January 17, 2022 6:14 am

    Weaving is an interesting way to provide feedback to the learners by an instructor. Well explained with examples.

  • Weaving is motivating and would influence more participation by the learners.

  • Makereta Tubailagi
    February 6, 2022 5:47 am

    This is something new I learn. Thank you.

  • Lucy Birakwate
    August 27, 2022 4:47 pm

    Indeed learning will never end! Thank you.

  • I have just realized how weaving is a motivation to participants in itself! It is so important that every e-facilitator learns and masters this skill. Coupled with other characteristics of a good e-facilitator, weaving can help a team have a very fruitful e-learning experience!

  • Matthew Sakala
    August 29, 2022 4:15 pm

    Very powerful insights. Participants will definitely feel valued if their contribution is taken note of. I never knew anything about this, some massive learning here.

  • Samuel Diarra
    August 29, 2022 11:01 pm

    This is a very good example supporting the didactical case here. Thank you!

  • Very useful information, on the weaving techniques, and I like the way it is being applied in this course.

  • Mediatrice Uwera
    September 20, 2022 11:09 pm

    Great technique Anouk! I like that aspect of providing the specific feedback that shows learners what you liked and why! Not just saying good job, move on!

  • Tseliso Khoaeane
    March 18, 2023 8:53 pm

    Weaving is helpful for students (feedback), it also helps the teacher to fully comprehend the passage he or she is working on. It gives students a sense of belonging and motivates them too. It helps students to enjoy what they learn, and they also see that teacher has time for their work.

  • NDAGIJIMANA Emmanuel
    May 20, 2023 8:57 pm

    This is truly an interesting tutor skills. It is also important as well. It reduces time to use while tutoring and helps replying to all online learners/ participants substantively at the same time.

  • Oswell Hapanyengwi
    May 25, 2023 8:16 pm

    Any excellent exposition that facilitators need to read. It clarifies what is at the heart of interacting during online facilitation. The skills are useful even beyond online engagement.

  • Lindiwe Blaauw
    June 11, 2023 3:56 am

    It is an interesting tool as one acknowledges the contribution made by colleagues and also how they perceive the subject matter.

  • Côme NDOUR
    July 17, 2023 5:43 pm

    Thank you for these guidelines which are very practical. It’s up to me to implement them.

  • Wilson Dickson
    July 18, 2023 12:46 am

    This is a very helpful write up. Infact, when I was a participant in one of e-workshops, I wondered how e-facilitators were connecting issues while motivating us to learn more. Now I understand. It was weaving skill.

  • Gilbert Mushangari
    July 21, 2023 1:51 am

    Weaving is a great technique which makes life easy compared to having to reply all messages from the learners. Ity requires one to have the ability to thoroughly understand the subject under discussion and be able to summarize learners contributions without losing the meaning of the contributions.

  • Makalius Charles
    August 11, 2023 2:55 pm

    The weaving technique is really very important and shouldn’t be taken for granted. It is something I used to do but now realize many gaps that I need to improve and work on as an eFacilitator

  • Duncan Mugume
    August 17, 2023 3:36 am

    Good learning and providing feedback in such an organised but guided manner. Thanks for the learning on weaving

  • Just reading this makes me want to try my hands on weaving immediately

  • Dr. Muhammad Ujudud Musa
    November 18, 2023 7:53 am

    Thank you very for this excellent self explanatory piece, indeed weaving is made easy and we are gradually becoming online facilitators on the making, a big thumb up to our every ready facilitators and mentors.

  • Very clear and interesting explanation for weaving that is and educative way of giving feedback for our students. Thank you very much!


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