Failure Makes Perfect

December 22, 2017
Company & TechnologyJulia Winter

A perfect relay hand-off takes a coach’s breath away.  

The baton moves from the incoming runner to the outgoing one without ever slowing down. This perfection can only happen after countless practice sessions. The intuition that is developed between the athletes becomes embodied after this work. 

‍Michigan Division 3 State Meet 2000, 4x200 Relay, Amber Lee to Jessica Buchanan (Detroit Country Day School)

Athletes understand the requirement of practice to achieve success. Regardless of the sport, they practice over and over (and over) as the only way to develop the muscle memory and spatial perception that is necessary to be successful. They also learn from the failures that happen during these numerous attempts at skills, be it a jump shot, a corner kick, or a high jump approach.

This kind of repetitive practice is what is also needed for students to develop the kind of academic intuition that moves them beyond memorization into understanding. The question becomes how do we give students the kind of instant feedback that athletes receive when they practice?  And do so in a way that practice seems natural and engaging, like how a baby learns a language, or how a toddler learns to walk. Neither the baby nor the toddler is afraid of failure, they naturally progress to talking and moving.

We are at a point in the development of learning tools, with the emergence of Augmented and Virtual Reality (A/VR = XR),  where students will now be able touch and feel theoretical concepts. They can play and practice with concepts that in the past were only presented by words and graphs on the printed page or through watching a video. With XR learning tools we can give students that immersive understanding that will help them build the intuition necessary for success, whether in chemistry, physics, engineering, even finance and economics. 

The key is to build the XR learning tools with the level of design that make the best commercial games so addicting. The graphics and user experience of successful games incentivize players to persist through the challenges presented. Learning from failure is the way to earn rewards and move to the next level.At Alchemie, our vision is to create these learning tools and build the feedback loop, using machine learning, to develop a new method for cognition.  We are excited about this fusion of design, subject matter understanding, and data analytics to create the next generation of assessment technology for students and instructors. 

Co- Author