Learning to Fail: How to Make Failing Part of Learning

Failing can be a great teacher, but few sign up for its classes. Our institutions are filled with learners who feel pressured to get high grades, so asking them to fail (and smile while doing it) is a hard sell. So how can we get learners to explore new ideas and extended content, then embrace the failing that often results? In this session you'll learn how an iterative process of problem definition, experimentation, failing, and reflection can produce innovative results regardless of subject matter. We'll explore how to create learning environments where risk-taking is celebrated and where learners end the semester with knowledge that transcends the grading scale.

Dennis Cheatham is member of the Department of Art in Graphic Design and a faculty affiliate of Armstrong Interactive Media Studies at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. As a design researcher, his work explores how design thinking, processes, and outcomes affect and are influenced by human perception and behavior in societally systemic problems. His current research is focused on real and perceived barriers that prevent peoples' recording of end-of-life decisions. Dennis applies this transdisciplinary approach to his pedagogy, and he has recently completed research involving the development and testing of learning environments that encourage learner-driven experimentation and inventive outcomes. Prior to his academic appointment, he practiced design professionally for 15 years as a creative director, graphic, interaction, and experience designer. Dennis's work has earned regional and national awards, has been published nationally, and he has presented his research internationally.

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