Learning sutra 101 - Fail Fast, Fail Often

We often hear people telling us as that failure is the stepping stone for success and one needs to take things in the positive stride and learn from ones failure. While this is so true for life, its also a common buzz word in the start-up circles, where start up failures are celebrated and founders honoured.

Failure a much needed ingredient

There have been numerous examples of leaders and public personalities who have often attributed their success to events of struggle and initial failures. Societies and countries have had to face huge setbacks before they could rebuild themselves into success stories.

Organisations, have to weather tough times and make mistakes and fail often, before they could find the right ground.

Games and Failure

Interestingly, failure is an important design element while designing games, the player when subjected to various tasks is often provided an opportunity to fail, learn and continue with the game.

Failure in Classroom

But why is failure not treated in the right spirit with an educational setup?

Student quiver at the thought of failure and parents and teachers penalise them for failing. Nobody would deny the fact that, when one fails, they would reason and reflect and thereby learn better. However in an educational setup, failure is used as an objective measure of a student’s performance and hence students are afraid of failing.

Embedding opportunities of failure as a pedagogical tool

It’s a well-researched fact that learning happens only when the learners teach themselves. The learner needs to be provided with ample opportunity to fail during the learning process. The problem comes when learning outcomes are measured as either pass or fail.

The instructor needs to provide opportunities for students to fail and learn in the process. Applied Games specifically designed with certain learning objectives provide ample opportunities for failure in a risk free controlled environment.

Providing a conducive environment to enable learners reason and reflect and by designing appropriate failure points embedded in the pedagogical process would ensure that learning is more effective and fun.

Let’s use failure as a design element in learning

Fail fast, fail often for an effective learning experience…

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