Learning from Failure

This week in my MSU class I was part of small group working on a giant problem – how to get students to see failure as a learning tool. This idea started the 2013 NMC Horizon Project Summit, which discussed many wicked problems in education. One of them was allowing failure to serve as a learning tool towards success. The quote that stuck out to me while reading about The Future of Education was “learning is all about risk, but learning institutions are anything but risk tolerant”.


My group (three other educators) brainstormed virtually on how to help students treat failure as a necessary and helpful learning tool in the classroom. Along the way we had to remind ourselves that failure is okay and part of the process. Our meetings didn’t record as planned, audio was more difficult than expected to place into the mashup, and some comments on Google Docs were missed. However, at the end of the experience I believe that my group and I came up with some wonderful suggestions and visuals to help students, of all ages, learn to learn from failure. Check out our Blendspace for more information.

Our ideas expanded on James Paul Gee’s idea of students trying again and again (and again …) while trying to beat a difficult video game, but don’t show the same grit in school. We came up with a rubric for teachers and students to use that leads students through a feedback loop and assesses their attempts without a grade on the material until the end, when they’ve had a lot of time and feedback. If you have any suggestions or stories about how you help students learn through failure please comment and let me know!



Chua, Celestine. (2013, November 11). Success and Failure [Feature Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/celestinechua/10797838426/in/photolist-7jod9o-7vR5pH-5tCATs-qKut4-56xtz1-aRW4n-4DhmZz-aRv9fK-any4oT-hsaKb3-9jt4iL-fEFbbk-d4fbZh-9beqom-8Xdq3A-xpcC-7XiTN8-5uKBt2-dxJq6r-9jq8gk-ComFW-9mwWR3-4tCELz-6rtMaL-9jtcWA-9jtdAy-4tDKMe-9jq94Z-9qExkL-4LoHCL-8kSF6-2heHCF-e7UAuF-9cEokr-c91QF-5gJKh-9jq164-9jq2Yi-9jt7P9-9jq5Up-9jt8iW-9jpYC2-9jq3Lt-9jq4zk-cHscNU-96L1k4-aC5dMS-4q2g13-4q2b3W-4PbmV6

StormKatt. (2012, December 1). Failure [Picture]. Retrieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/stormkatt/8235365437/in/photolist-yDZmp-9w3xa-9jktKi-fMJabv-aeZWUY-7RrjPg-44idF5-dxJpeg-dwWHw5-nVdB9X-fJFVeE-6bKGE9-7He5Fa-CXBv3-6S8jo9-aoWxVG-FDWDs-65guvE-7axGNN-9jqbQZ-4tCE16-igoPpc-9jtgc9-9Aoswy-fJpnNK-fJFUWS-fJpnTV-ogZXX-L7Dj6-7orBcT-5YLwJ8-yDZq6-9mQt6W-6DXx5d-4Edzge-9iMybX-9jqaUa-9mMkVB-nSEBw2-nSwCPW-8j1HQ7-nAaPWa-yDZrq-yDZoo-nAb1yb-nUrYMa-nSnxiT-2Tz4Z9-cBdvPJ-nSnxkB

The New Media Consortium. (2013). The future of education: The 2013 NMC Horizon Project Summit communiqué. Retrieved from http://www.nmc.org/pdf/2013-Horizon-Project-Summit-Communique.pdf

Williams, Gareth. (2010, October 30). The Wit and Wisdom of Winston – Oct 2010 – Westerham Pub Wall – Those Two Imposters [Picture]. Retieved from https://www.flickr.com/photos/gareth1953/5219326886/in/photolist-8Xdq3A-xpcC-7XiTN8-5uKBt2-dxJq6r-9jq8gk-ComFW-9mwWR3-4tCELz-6rtMaL-9jtcWA-9jtdAy-4tDKMe-9jq94Z-9qExkL-4LoHCL-8kSF6-2heHCF-e7UAuF-9cEokr-c91QF-5gJKh-9jq164-9jq2Yi-9jt7P9-9jq5Up-9jt8iW-9jpYC2-9jq3Lt-9jq4zk-cHscNU-96L1k4-aC5dMS-4q2g13-4q2b3W-4PbmV6-i7PxM6-zHYJ8-g5axJ-nS675K-e2fQKB-9vs5dY-9XGLRZ-nCWBUx-8dy4pa-o5dmFR-8LLZbB-4pq5vm-3g2ZyV-7wpiWw 


One thought on “Learning from Failure

  1. Stacey,

    I enjoyed your project on Blendspace and chatting with you via Google Hangout. I think you guys tackled the problem, “How can students learn through failure?” very nicely. I particularly enjoyed reading about the “Feedback Loop” and how that can be implemented in the classroom. The video game model makes perfect sense, for students need continuous feedback to know where they stand and what they need to do in order to either improve or advance. Overall, awesome job, and you can find my grading rubric with comments here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/15BShQWsXOJAPxbE6KyZqT130tqjqE9cgnIVuRdD-E2E/edit


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s