Monday, August 24, 2009

Learning from mistakes

A recent MIT study found that people are far more likely to repeat mistakes rather than learn from them - and that it is our successes that we seem to gain the most insight from. Really interesting and somewhat counterintuitive. I think we assume or like to think that we'd learn from failure but apparently that is much harder to do!

In this blog post, addiction specialist Stanton Peele discusses the failure of programs like Scared Straight (where kids are exposed to hardened criminals in prison environments) to actually result in behavior modification. adults we assume that this would work - that a kid would not want that life. But, it doesn't.

It just demonstrates how important empirical data in the design of educational programs, and how lacking this is from our approach to teaching and learning.


  1. So to look at the flip side of Scared Straight, would a program that allows rebellious children to look at the successes of a peer who decided to work hard have more impact? Like you said, it seems the Scared Straight format would be more effective. Who knows?

  2. It's possible...someone should try it!