The Benefits of Failure – Games : A ‘game changer’

Failure teaches and empowers us with great skills. Surprised? Don’t be. Read this and I hope it helps us all to deal with any form of failure our kids experience however measured; and see how it can become a major learning breakthrough.

Justin Marquis PH.D writes…..

Failure teaches many critical skills, among them:

Perseverance – Small failures that can be overcome teach students to keep trying until they succeed. There is little that we do in life or our jobs that is an instant success every time. Achievement is a process filled with incremental gains and small setbacks. Games involve players in this system and make it part of the learning process.

Resilience – Students must learn that their failures do not define them and that they are not made less by experiencing them. In fact, they are made better and stronger – more resilient – by facing them. This is something that they will require throughout their lifetimes and which the best games teach through adaptive difficulty levels.

Creativity – Seldom can a problem be solved by repeatedly doing the same thing over and over. More often than not, innovation is a key component to overcoming failures. The earlier that students learn this skill, the more proficient they will become at doing it. This ability to be creative in the face of adversity is something that defines the most successful members of an innovation-based economy and that is modeled in good games.

Adaptability – Students who encounter failures in their learning must also become adaptable in their approaches to solving problems and in their understanding of the way the world works. If you succeed every time, there is no challenge to your understanding of reality. If however, you encounter obstacles that must be overcome on the way to success you will learn that there are a wide range of reasons for that failure, possibly including fundamental flaws in your understanding of how the world works. Developing the flexibility to adapt to these changing understandings allows students to become successful in whatever context they may find themselves in the future.

How to ask for help – One thing that failure often prompts people to do is ask for help. This is, however, a learned skill that happens with intellectual maturity, and is not a natural part of many young people’s strategy for dealing with the world. Though it is one of the most successful strategies for learning.

Acting Independently – Many games also push players to act independently and decisively with little advanced notice. Failure to act quickly in a game will lead to losing more often than not, but players learn to adapt to being assertive agents of their own fate – what more could a prospective employer want?

Innovations in learning does not begin in success. Usually, you find that when one fails at a given task, innovation causes them to discover one more way of doing it differently a next time.

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