Contrary to what you may expect, feedback from multiple sources is the most desired form. Though maybe not all at once from multiple sources. The reason for this is that each gives a different point of view, allowing the recipient to have a broader overview of what they can change or improve. With this, it needs to be clarified to the individual that acting upon the multiple sources of feedback is not compulsory. It may be obvious to some, but it is wise to remind people that the feedback, even if given objectively in a group or in a 1-on-1 situation, is still an opinion and that they can choose whether to act upon it or not.
Group feedback is commonly used when the feedback not only benefits the individual but everyone in the group, and when the various individuals in the group are able to give specific feedback or add to it with their own perspectives.
The benefits are that the group members have had first-hand experience with each other and are therefore better placed to offer directed feedback over a facilitator, who is likely to have been an observer, rather than interacting. The role of the facilitator, in this case, is that of a guide and arbitrator.
Depending on the group sizes, you may be required to split it into smaller group sizes in order to reap the most benefits and to effectively guide everyone. If you are splitting into smaller groups, then have each group collate the various questions that they had written at the start and discuss the answers they have for them. And then as a group to have them distil two to three questions and answers that reflect the entire group.
If for some reason no questions were written down at the start, then you can request that each group write two or three things that went well during the experience and two or three things that didn’t go well. And as a singular large group, you as a facilitator will simply go through the room and select a few individuals to highlight their questions and write down as many as you have time to answer. This may be more reductive in comparison to the previous one, but this should always be paired with a peer-feedback session that follows the group one then.
In either case, as a facilitator, you will guide the discussion, but let the participants lead in their answers and their reflective thoughts about the experience.
This variation is used when the feedback doesn’t affect others or is required to expand upon a group feedback session in a more refined manner. When it isn’t in conjunction with group feedback, 1-on-1 is used if the feedback will appear as though it is singling someone out, even though the intent is to not do that, or if the feedback needs to be clarified or expanded in a more personalised manner.
Regardless of whether the 1-on-1 is between you and the participant or between two participants, your role as the facilitator is to guide them and let them lead the discussions. The intent is to remain supportive and to foster reflections on alternatives and improvements.
Do try to always to have 1-on-1 feedback or peer-feedback follow a group-feedback session to give the most well-rounded reflective experience for your participants.
General feedback tips
Do make it very clear from the start that feedback should be provided with clarity and specificity. As well as that it should always be given in the first-person form, or the “I” form, as it is always subjective and thus is better received in this form.
The enemy of feedback, therefore, is vagueness and the second-person form, or the “You” form. When it goes to these it becomes a value judgement and sounds like a critique. For example, notice the difference between “I feel you could have improved on this specifically” versus “You could have done better overall”.
Additionally, make sure that the subject matter of the feedback is limited, don’t discuss more than 2 or 3 general topics in a group, any specifics can be left to 1-on-1/peer feedback sessions.