University of Oulu

Toward a constructive perception of failure : a comparison of groups in a face-to-face collaboration case

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Author: He, Ruicen1
Organizations: 1University of Oulu, Faculty of Education, Department of Educational Sciences and Teacher Education, Educational Sciences
Format: ebook
Version: published version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.9 MB)
Pages: 90
Persistent link:
Language: English
Published: Oulu : R. He, 2015
Publish Date: 2015-12-08
Thesis type: Master's thesis
Tutor: Hyvönen, Pirkko
Reviewer: Hyvönen, Pirkko
Vuopala, Essi
Minor or big, permanent or temporary, failure is widely experienced by people of different nationalities, ages, social status, and genders, at any stages of life, in a tremendous scale of day-to-day situations. A common misunderstanding and underestimation of failure as a state of negative result is that failure of performance indicates failure in learning and knowledge building, and that it is bad and disadvantageous. Though failure is usually believed to be a negative and disappointing result, it to some extent plays an important and positive role in our lives, and many people learn from their previous failures and failures of others. In the field of education, the role of failure in facilitating and enhancing learning has been studied in literature for years. This research mainly serves to explore how learners collaborated, performed and learned, and how exactly learners in collaboration learn from failure in their learning. To support my research, the literature review starts with the differences of learning and performance, then it comes to the definition and perception of learning in general. After this section, definition of collaboration and characteristics of collaborative learning are introduced. Later, after the sections on performance and learning, comes the sections in which various possibilities and mechanisms of failure-enhanced learning are introduced and discussed. The data were collected from a video-recorded research session designed and carried out by the PROMO research team from a university located in a Nordic country. Participants were twelve first year and second year international Master’s degree students (seven female, five male) in the field of education. The twelve participants spontaneously formed three groups of four, all groups then were assigned the same open-ended problem-solving task, which required each group to work on a three-hour-long epistemic game in three separate rooms. The result of my research suggests that, firstly, poor or good performance does not always indicate the failure or success in learning, a full picture of both the process and results can offer a more complete understanding of how learners learned. For example, it is possible that a group with satisfactory academic performance or final presentation may actually have poor learning, while a lower-performing group may experience better learning though they had poorer performance or final presentation. The next finding is that students could learn from challenges or failures, but those who are more aware of the challenges, and faced the challenges with more positive emotions and good problem-solving strategies could learn more from failure and the process of finding proper solutions to the challenges, and are more possible to tackle challenges and thus avoid them accelerating into failures.
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