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Learning from mistakes

I love how some people can tie their regular daily lives back to learning … like “everything I know about learning design I learned from raising a puppy”. My work & personal lives have never been that synced up. I did however, have the following “AHA!” moment recently about how people learn more from mistakes than from doing things correctly.

I planted my first garden this year – I mean I did the whole thing… bough the seeds, planted them, talked to them every day, dug the rows, planted my new seedlings outside in perfectly straight rows, admired them, bragged about them… the whole thing.

And then a rabbit ate all but a row of peas. I’d been told to use chicken wire to keep the animals out. I’d been told to plant them in the backyard so I could keep an eye on them. And… I’d been told to plant them in pots so they could be covered more easily. Obviously I didn’t follow the instructions of the seasoned gardeners.

I made a mistake. I’m now starting over – I bought more seeds, I planted them, I talk to them every day, and next week I’ll dig my rows and cover them neatly in chicken wire.

If the worst case scenario hadn’t happened – I wouldn’t have learned how to properly garden in an urban area.

Instructions aren’t enough – people learn by their mistakes and the feedback they get as a result of those mistakes.

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