Consequences of Making a Mistake and the Motivation to Learn

On Wednesday, I attended an ASTD Golden Gate Chapter meeting on the subject of agile instructional design. The speaker was Steve Lee, who is co-founder of Allen Interactions, a leading learning design firm. His talk about about their learning design methodology SAM which is documented in Michael Allen's (the Allen in Allen Interactions) book Leaving ADDIE for SAM. I have read the book and found it quite useful.

I was surprised to learn this book is ASTD's number one selling book.

There was one thing I learned at the session last night form Steve Lee that did not come across to me in the book. And that is the idea that with very little content, a learning program (course, class, whatever) can be prototyped to test the learner's knowledge of a subject specific so that they would fail and then learn from their mistakes.

Here is the tweet I sent quoting Steve Lee in the moment.

It hit me like a ton of bricks. You really can get someone to learn a subject but having them try an activity before they know much about it. They try it, make mistakes, and then can be prompted to learn what mistakes they made, so they can try again and get it right.

It really is scaring people into showing them they are not as smart as they think they are.

It is about showing them the consequences of making a mistake of motivation for learning a subject.