Even though research on failure as a motivator of effort is very limited, the evidence that does exist suggests that students can grow both from learning about the failures of other people and from experiencing and understanding their own failure. Crucially, for failure to have positive effects, students need to realize that failure offers valuable information that is central to their long-term success. These projects explore how learning about other peoples’ struggles and failures impacts one’s own learning and problem-solving. The effects of learning about other peoples’ struggles have been studied in both cross-cultural problem-solving as well as STEM learning. For instance, we study how recognizing that visionaries and ‘geniuses’ such as Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Marie Curie also have experienced lots of struggles and failures helps students learn difficult domains.
- Lin-Siegler, X., Ahn, J. N., Chen, J., Fang, F. F. A., & Luna-Lucero, M. (2016). Even Einstein struggled: Effects of learning about great scientists’ struggles on high school students’ motivation to learn science. Journal of Educational Psychology, 108(3), 314.
- Hong, H.Y. & Lin-Siegler, X. D. (2012). How learning about scientists’ struggles influences students’ interest and learning in physics. Journal of Educational Psychology, 104(2), 469-484.