In my FYE course I’ve been insisting that students make games that challenge people to fail. This is a core element of games: if there’s no real challenge, there’s no real reason to play and no fun. Via FB, Beau Anderson links to this article in Scientific American titled Getting it Wrong: Surprising Tips on How to Learn. I don;t know why it’s such a surprise. Here’s a quote:
People remember things better, longer, if they are given very challenging tests on the material, tests at which they are bound to fail. In a series of experiments, they showed that if students make an unsuccessful attempt to retrieve information before receiving an answer, they remember the information better than in a control condition in which they simply study the information. Trying and failing to retrieve the answer is actually helpful to learning. Itâ€™s an idea that has obvious applications for education, but could be useful for anyone who is trying to learn new material of any kind.
I’m a little skeptical about the applicability or relevance of the studies’ conclusions across disciplines. When did we forget that challenge is a good thing?