Thursday, January 26, 2012

"SMACK THE LEARNER ON THE FACE" - Learning from failures - best learning ever

Allowing learners to fail or realize the possibility of failures enable them to earnestly pursue learning as they analyze, think through or contemplate on the circumstance and discover learning points that help them arrive at solutions and/or behavioral changes.

I just read Roger Schank's book on "Teaching Minds".

Paraphrasing his thoughts, Schank says that our school and corporate educational systems are basically focused on academic objectives and not on the learners' life objectives. As a consequence, we hardly remember or use 95% of what we studied in school or even  in business training and learning programs. I believe that this is a lot of waste.

Furthermore, Schank is convinced that failure is the best way to learn. He says that we tend to change our behaviours as we experience mistakes and do trial and error in our actions and decisions. This becomes a recurring cycle of incremental learning.

With this in mind, I produce the vignettes as learning tools. Through them I try to present learners with instant reminders of situations where we fail. Alongside that, learners are allowed to think this failure through. The learner then asks: "What must I do differently?" "How do I avoid this next time?" Why did I behave in such manner?"

In the vignette "The Angry Project Manager", this is exactly what we aim at.
Ask yourself. Have you ever lost your cool? What happened when you did? What did you learn ?

In designing learning that revolves around experiences and stories, "SMACK THE LEARNER ON THE FACE"  and put them on the spot, to make them pay attention to learning from failures.

Click here to view "The Angry Project Manager".  Here below is a short description.

"The Angry Manager" vignette shows us that in a fast-paced work environment, anger may not always be avoided . But if you are to deal with a very angry person, what would you say or do? View the  vignette and consider the options presented. After contemplating on all the options, click to the next scene and witness  how anger can overtake someone. Can you see yourself reacting in a similar way? Click here to view "The Angry Project Manager".

How to Use the Vignette

Although the situation presented is specific, this vignette covers a wide range of topics, including conflict-resolution, work ethics and other management-related issues. This vignette is very useful for eLearning sessions that require your learners’ undivided attention, especially those that deal with specific situations that need to be resolved in a timely manner. Use it as part of your lessons or as a post-training test. Face-to-face, eLearning or webinar, this vignette is a sure way to push your learners to the EDGE. Vignettes are captivating and highly effective learning tools that can power up your classroom training, eLearning activities and social learning communities. Click here to view "The Angry Project Manager".

Join us  and tell us what you think about the vignettes and share with us if you have had similar experiences. Your feedback and insights are highly valued. Also feel free to send in your suggestions, comments, improvements or topics that are of interest to you. This can help us greatly in coming up with better vignettes, especially on topics that are of great relevance to you.

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
"Helping Learners Learn Their Way"


  1. Roger Schank was my inspiration when I first learned Authorware and started building computer based training applications (CBT) in 1993 - and he is an inspiration still. His ideas about natural learning and learning through experience, and sometimes failure are great. His idea that CBT (or now e-learning) can be a safe, non-judgmental place to fail, and thereby adapt and learn, (if done right) are timeless ideas.

  2. Thanks for sharing the nice information.
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