Failure is hot. The Harvard Business Review devoted an entire issue to the power of failure last year. Noted economist Tim Harford wrote a fabulous book about it – “Adapt: Why Success Always Comes from Failure.” And tens of millions of children (and adults) happily subject themselves to it everyday. They play video games.
One of the reasons video games are so compelling is that you fail a bunch of times before you “win.” Without the struggle there’s little satisfaction. You try, find out right away that you failed, adjust and repeat the process likely several more times. And when you finally figure it out, it feels pretty good. That’s because the brain’s reward center provides a satisfying dopamine hit to help validate the effort.
We could call this failure-adjustment loop “learning,” and fundamentally it’s nothing new. Thoughtful (and not so thoughtful) trial-and-error is a tried and true mechanism for learning across the animal kingdom and always has been. Well-designed video games, though, provide a vehicle for really focusing and scaling learning through failure in lots of disciplines. Four key elements are required.
Click through to read what they are.