Failure-driven Learning versus “Success-driven learning”

The heart of our pedagogical approach is the theory of “failure-driven learning,” which says, in a nutshell, that learning happens only when the world does something different than what you expected.

In the upbeat, positive-thinking world of instructional design, the phrase “failure-driven learning” hits some people the wrong way. It sounds, let’s face it, a little negative. That was presumably what motivated the person who, at the end of a presentation I gave on the subject, asked, “Why not success-driven learning?”

I think that question is worth answering, not just because it’s kind of clever, but because I think it neatly captures the most common objection to failure driven learning as a theory.

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