Learning to Fail

Learning to fail is a trait few can practice with any kind of aplomb. In fact, one of the most challenging feelings in the world is the sense of failure you feel as a learner when you just don’t get it and seemingly everyone else does.   It doesn’t matter what “it” is.  The worst thing you can do as an eLearning practitioner is stop learners in their tracks before they get off the ground.

Assessments don’t have to be punishments. You can design a course that rewards learners for just completing it. Of course it depends what your subject matter is. Obviously there are no half-right answers when you are putting new hires through safety inductions, for example. You wear a safety harness if you are working from heights—full stop. No options.

But what about softer skills? Like sales, which requires a personal touch and the art of listening for “pain points” from your prospects. One of the best examples of eLearning involving  developing sales skills involved a video that demonstrated bad sales techniques and another which showcased a more successful approach to winning over a potential client.

Amercian Community School of Abu Dhabi, 2014
Photo by Thomas Galvez

In the “bad example” video, the salesperson showed up late to the appointment, interjected his assumptions constantly when his prospects were attempting to outline the problems they wanted solved, and left abruptly without answering any of the specific questions the prospects had.

It was an amusing, well scripted piece of theatre that held your attention and clearly showed poor sales skills, from uninvolved body language to lack of empathy and listening for key points in the discussion.

The eLearning course that delivered this video did not link it to any assessments.  But it could have easily been produced so the video was broken down into small examples, followed by a narration pointing out what the salesperson was doing wrong at that point.  After critiquing the sales performance, another video is played by the eLearner showing how the meeting could have gone differently with a successful outcome.

Those two pieces of interactive media, could be followed by a 5-question, non-assessed  exam that had questions and answers based on the video snippets.  This is an example of eLearning that helps learners retain information, have a bit of fun, and reduce the chances for failure. Well, put bluntly, there is no failure in this scenario, only success and engagement.

My Learning Space can help you put together courses with these kinds of “failure resistant” strategies.