Learning by error in e-learning

07 Jan 2021 Lee Luong 0 Motion Graphics and VFX

Socrates said: “ The fall is not a failure. Failure is to stay where you fell ” . Certainly, but in practice, it is often more complicated. Failure is often the cause of a loss of self-confidence, of questioning, of doubts. We are in a society that has also often valued successes and pointed out errors, especially in the educational environment. However, these practices tend to evolve in recent years and we will see to what extent learning by error makes sense, especially in e-learning.

To undertake is to expose yourself to failure

If tomorrow you want to accomplish great things and launch your business, know that failure is omnipresent in the world of entrepreneurship. Start-ups, for example, are machines to fail. The American business model has integrated it well, which is why it has all these great success stories to its credit. What US entrepreneur has never known flaws when he launched his business? If we take the example of the producer Walt Disney when he launched into the cinema, he had been criticized for his lack of imagination. Today, children around the world are growing up with his productions. We also have the example of the German Albert Einstein who was a turbulent child and with difficulties to learn, so far, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics! 

The United States also knows the concept of Failcon which appeared in France in 2011. Failcon consists of setting up conferences on each other's failures. Whether they are entrepreneurs, investors or craftsmen, the objective is to play down the failures in order to bounce back better and go further. 

Learning is a personal matter

If we return to the world of training and analyze the expression e-learning , several points can be interesting to raise. “E” stands for web, digital, and “Learning” refers to learning. But looking more closely, can we consider that learning is web, or digital? Not really. Learning is a personal matter, an individual process. We all have our own way of learning, our own faculties and facilities. And these different learner profiles can be found both face-to-face and remote, which is why you have to know how to deal with them.

E-learning as a model adapted to the management of failure

The fear of error is anchored in each of us, it is based on the socio-educational model that we have received, it can be more or less great according to the experiences. Let us remember those traumas suffered at school when we made a mistake going to the blackboard. Behind a screen, this fear is perceived differently. E-learning has an advantage over face-to-face because it provides a security context. The modules encourage learners to get out of their comfort zone and the latter will more easily tend to take risks. Failure allows you to learn more and ask the right questions. For a learner, it will be much better to work on his weak points even if it means failing during a training course rather than showing them at work. This will be reassuring and will increase his self-confidence. It is important that during training, the trainer provides support and guidance to everyone. Educational engineers, on the other hand, must offer content that leaves room for failure. If the content of the training contains gaps, the real fault will be not to correct it. 

Integrate failure into the learning process

As mentioned above, failure is inevitable in a learning process . This is what makes you come out more confident and taller. When designing training, educational engineers and trainers can sometimes get into the obsessive side of scores. However, we must integrate the fact that learning is not just a result but it is also a process. 

This is why the trainer has a fundamental role in helping him overcome this fear of failure:

  • He must define clear and precise objectives at the start of the training. It is necessary to explain the challenge of the module and how the learners will be able to gain skills.
  • The content must be clear, precise and impactful. When the educational engineer designs the training, he must integrate stimulating and fun learning techniques such as gamification or social learning . 
  • Trust the learners. It must be placed at the heart of learning. He must be given the possibility of “skipping” parts to come back to them later, informing him when the module is graded or when it is a simple practice. This will have an assured de-dramatizing effect. If you accept that learners fail a quiz to be more successful at their job, you are on the right track.

Anticipate the failure of your learners

word of advice, therefore, do not overlook the mistakes of your learners , they are part of their future successes. To go further in supporting learners, research has been carried out to be able to anticipate learners' difficulties in e-learning. This is particularly the case of Mohamed Mouaici , doctoral student at Logipro in Puy-en-Velay, who looked into the issue. The data collected on training delivery software ( LMS platforms ) could make it possible to analyze the behavior of learners and to anticipate a possible failure. The objective would therefore be to offer IT solutions to teaching teams in order to offer remedies to learners when necessary.

BY: Lee Luong

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