Confronting Failure for Success in a Studio-based Classroom
Rebecca Kelly | Syracuse University
Abstract: Failure can be an effective teacher, but few people intentionally set out to fail. Applying the concept of “productive failure,” which is typically used in the STEM fields, a communications design project is set up in such a way that students are unknowingly expected to fail, despite their best attempts at finding a solution. Throughout the project, students are given less didactic instructions and less structured support than usual. The final critique is led by external experts who provide outside perspectives and deeper knowledge in a subject matter fundamentally unfamiliar to the students. This experience is meant to force students to face their fear of failure at the outset of a larger project and understand the need to dig deeper to build a more comprehensive body of research prior to concept development. This experiment is designed to contribute to students’ failure tolerance; theoretically, overcoming a feeling of failure will lead to more experimentation with innovative solutions.
Most everyone has awakened gasping, sweaty, and thankful that it was “only a dream.” Did the dreaded nightmare involve showing up to a meeting late, arriving unprepared, or messing up slides? Or did it feature an intensive college final exam for which, you just realized, you had forgotten to study, and the guaranteed outcome is…failure?
Failure is a well-studied research subject: who tends to fail, why they fail, and the predictors, psychological impacts and negative effects of failure in industry and higher education. But there is a scarcity of research on intentional failure. Recently, there has been more discussion in the private sector and in education surrounding the positive effects of failure (Fail Again, Fail Better, n.d.). No one seeks to fail (consciously, at least), no one wants to feel the effects of defeat, but as it turns out, failure is exactly what I expected—and wanted—from my students for this project. To fail. Not just fail but fail in front of their peers, their instructors, and strangers, with the added potential for failure in front of one of the largest non-profit organizations in the world — because there is value in failure (VanLehn, 1999).
The goal of this study is to determine if an exercise in failure should be formally included in a new, revolutionized curriculum in communications design, one in which traditional methods and topics are re-evaluated, reworked and possibly replaced with something entirely new and innovative. Previous research has identified attributes that characterize the new successful designer of the future, and the ability to overcome a fear of failure was deemed critical (Kelly, 2018). But how can one overcome failure without first facing it? It seems logical to introduce this element into the classroom, intentionally setting up a failure project in a safe environment in which all factors are controlled and failure can be made into a positive teaching experience.
Background – Based In Research
It is well known that failure can not only lead to greater productivity but, in the process, serve as an effective teaching tool. It can help motivate some people to work harder, to master a task, to shoot a better basket, and so on. In education, a struggle through failure after failure, if one is persistent enough, can make an eventual success more rewarding and memorable.
For many Generation Z students, however, failure is to be avoided at all costs as, in the current climate (Nicholas, 2020), the pressure to succeed overrides nearly every other driving force (Perrin, et al., 2014).
Recently, it became apparent to me and to my colleagues that students were requesting more and more clarity on assignments so that failing was less likely. From discussions with interdepartmental counterparts, it became clear that this trend was occurring in other disciplines as well. Students were uncomfortable with the unfamiliar and would go to great lengths to receive as much direct instruction as possible (Kelly, 2018; Nicolas, 2020). To them, extreme clarity equaled an easy solution and low risk of failure; to us, it meant less innovation. Why were students so uncomfortable with exploring the unknown? The unknown is where great discoveries are made, where innovation lies, and if we stop on the edge of the known we will never get to new. Fear-of-failure paralysis can cause creative solutions to become mundane and expected. This has no place in the new design paradigm; experimentation and creative thinking are key to envisioning original, unexpected ideas and unique perspectives and thoughts. These types of thought processes are vital to success in the creative fields and, indeed, to the workplace in general. More and more, employers are seeking higher-level thinking skills, “expert thinking,” as rote and standard routine processes are being phased out in favor of problem-solving acumen (Levy & Murnane, 2004). If innovative, creative problem-solving skills are highly valued in industry, how do we address the fear of failure, and how does higher education respond to a growing body of students with a more risk-averse mentality? Is it not part of higher education to challenge and push students out of their comfort zones?
In a 2018 study, students were polled to find their degree of tolerance for the unknown and failure. How important is the “A”? Where would they rather work: a steady, boring business or a creative start-up with great projects but lacking a proven track history? As suspected, students were very intolerant of risk, and willing to turn in a weaker project for a guaranteed “A” than something more novel, exciting, or innovative for an unknown grade (Kelly, 2018).
The question thus arises: How can design students be taught to overcome this fear when, to them, failure must be avoided, even in some cases to the point of plagiarizing the work of others? (Skaar, 2013) Is there a way to force a failure in order for students to experience a negative evaluation and move past the initial disappointment, using the criticism to a successful end? We decided that there was no better time to experiment with failure than with one of the largest collaborative projects the entire School of Design has ever untaken in service of one of the largest and best-known non-profit organizations to produce a globally outward-facing exhibition space. When the stakes were this high, it was imperative to fail, and fail successfully.
Theoretical Framework: Thoughts Behind a “Productive Failure”
The opportunity arose for communications design students to design an exhibition space for the United Nations, including narratives, floorplans, elevations, 3-D models and renderings, visual aesthetics, branding, and concepts for the UN’s presence at the World Expo 2020: Dubai, promoting the 2030 Sustainability Development Goals (SDG). A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for designers at any stage in their career, this was a massive undertaking for students at a junior level, involving layers of complexity with unfamiliar aspects too numerous to count.
Considering that “safe,” unremarkable, uninspiring work would most likely be deemed a failure in terms of impact and topic awareness, it was essential to push students beyond the inaccurate and mundane ideas (Rosling, 2009) they would inevitably present. Successful completion of a project of this scope meant transcending a purely aesthetically driven solution and, for me, necessitated the introduction of a new approach to communications design pedagogy. I decided that bringing a productive failure/flipped classroom structure, typically used in STEM curricula, to the design classroom could help improve students’ problem-solving skills later on (Song & Kapur, 2017). Failure is used as a research method in social sciences and in-depth investigations (Nicholas, 2020) and has been determined to be a successful teaching tool in other disciplines as well (Lenz, 2018). By adding elements of Souleles’ “design for social change” directives (Souleles, 2017), the creative fields could become a new area for prototyping these models. Productive failure has been studied in depth in STEM fields, including math (Kapur, 2010) and chemistry (Baepler et al., 2014), so we coined the term “engineered failure” to refer specifically to studio-based, creatively driven design projects, incorporating objectives relative to project-based, more subjective course work.
Typical, scaffolding-style instruction incorporates supports to help build students’ abilities to reach new stages throughout the learning process, following an “instruction first, problem-solving second (I+PS)” format. With productive failure, problem-solving occurs first, followed by instruction (PS+I) (Sinha & Kapur, 2019). When used as a teaching tool in fields such as math and science, this approach is reported to have positive outcomes (Song & Kapur, 2017). As Kapur outlined in his lecture (TEDLugano, 2019), the failures that were intentionally built into math assignments eventually provided students with the motivation to learn more and led to deep knowledge beyond that achieved by direct instruction. The less structured projects and calculated but limited instruction caused students to perform less successfully; they would initially struggle, often failing, but when they worked to overcome their failures, they ultimately gained more knowledge from the failed attempts and became more successful at problem solving in the long term than a group of students receiving direct instruction. Of particular relevance to this assignment, group projects generally require less scaffolding (van de Pol et al., 2015), and productive failure has been shown to outperform the I+PS model in conceptual understanding and knowledge transfer (Sinha & Kapur, 2019). Would this process be as successful in a more subjective/creative solutions-based communications design course?
Failure, for the purposes of this project, was defined as not achieving as highly successful a solution as one is capable of (Kapur, 2008), rather than not meeting objectives beyond one’s capabilities. The failure would not be recorded as a grade affecting a student’s overall performance evaluation; it would serve as an “eye-opening” experience than a punitive one. This idea for bringing in failure into the design classroom was based on two premises. One: that students would actually fail their first project. Two: that a small failure (Sitkin, 1990) would have a positive impact on the students, allowing them to face their fears of failure and move past the mundane to create better solutions for a larger, more complex problem (Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012). The intent of this initial failure was to lead students to engender novel, highly creative, and audience-appropriate ideas that would prevent an ultimate failure at the conclusion of the project. A rejection of their work by the client or a body of work deemed unacceptable by the instructors would mark a true, lasting failure that would have more far-reaching consequences to a student’s future and psyche, not to mention to the department and client as well.
It may seem counterintuitive or mean-spirited to lead students into a project with the intention that they fail it; as part of a larger project, however, this model was carefully designed with the students’ abilities and sensibilities in mind, and would be followed up with discussions on how to address the failure and progress from it. To be fair, every student had the mental capacity and access to the resources necessary to avoid failure, but the instructors felt that they would choose to rely on existing preconceptions, shortcuts, and easily obtained background information, all of which would lead them to off-track solutions. To effectively demonstrate to them the concept that “one doesn’t know what one doesn’t know,” and inspire them to seek a deeper understanding of their project, we decided that a failure project had the most potential impact. As explained by John Dewey in Art as Experience, a low stakes-failure can be a significant catalyst in helping students “cultivate creative thought and action (Stoller, 2013).” Small failures represent rare and valuable teaching moments that provide the “opportunity for learning and reflection” as part of the growth process; not taking advantage of this opportunity would be an even greater failure (Stoller, 2013).
The Students’ Education History and Mindset
In weighing the benefits and drawbacks that an engineered failure would have in the classroom, it was necessary to evaluate the typical educational backgrounds and learning styles of the students who would be participating. The Gen Z profile revealed the following: students have an eight-second attention span, they are raised on technology, and they primarily use Google for research because it allows them to instantly retrieve information. They want data from real experts but expect to have the right answer immediately, valuing speed over accuracy. Nearly a third find writing research papers unimportant, preferring direct experiences, and they value working and problem-solving in class rather than merely attending lectures. (Nicholas, 2020) Their study habits tend to be isolated and intrapersonal, and although they gain new ideas when communicating with others, they spend much more time trying to solve problems than talking with experts.
Based on anecdotal evidence—observations of students in this cohort and discussions with colleagues—students’ life experiences to this point have generally been failure-averse. Increasingly, they have, since childhood, been rescued from failure by “helicopter parents.” Whether in the form of a participation trophy or undue assistance with an essay paper or outright fraud to gain college admission, Gen Z has possibly been the group least exposed to failure in any form. While parental intentions may be noble, the effects of this type of upbringing include perfectionism, anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and defensiveness (Pantazi, 2019). The lack of experiential learning on a small scale during formative years has vast implications for these individuals later in life. Most notably, the need to avoid fearful situations, the fears of failure and of the unknown, and the inability to confront and overcome failure can arise from parenting that creates a fabricated sense of safety and unearned success, and can easily continue into adult life (Pantazi, 2019).
The typical primary educational experiences of this generation have exacerbated the issue. With schools pressured to demonstrate high levels of success through the leveraging of funds and reputation (Brown 2019), the negative effects of standardized testing are many and varied. In order to achieve an appropriate rate of success, students are compelled to perform well, to know the information on the test, and to memorize specific answers; they are not necessarily taught how to uncover those answers (Morgan, 2016; Moon 2002). According to one teacher, 95% of classroom time is spent not teaching per se, but making sure students do well on a particular test (Moon, 2002). Teaching to the test inhibits students’ abilities to think conceptually and to experiment (Resnick & Zurawsky, 2005), and consequently limits their problem-solving skills. The small failures that would have ideally allowed them to build healthy responses and the ability to overcome defeats throughout their lives are limited at best, so any potential failure is unknown territory and immensely devastating. Students begin their secondary education predisposed to having both an affinity for comprehensive instruction and an existential fear of failure.
Unfortunately, upon becoming independent adults in the real world, they will undoubtedly face situations in which failure is a distinct possibility. As described, the goal of this project was to demonstrate that it is possible to experience failure and use the knowledge gained to strengthen future work. Multiple professionals in the communications/graphic design industry have insisted on the important learning value of failure in higher education. As a group, they articulated the importance of learning to handle disappointment and failure when dealing with clients directly, and applauded the idea of intentional failure assignments in the classroom, lending additional merit to the implementation (Kelly et al., 2020).
The Structuring of Failure
When planning the failed assignment, the two primary instructors in the class agreed that it needed to occur early in the overall process, prior to expanding the project to all majors involved, at which point the projects would begin to get much larger and more complex. It was essential that the failure occur near the beginning of the project, allowing students time to adapt, recover, and move forward with the remainder of the project.
An engineered failure was introduced in the project’s early stages in an effort to determine the effectiveness of such a strategy on the rest of the project. Great care was given to laying out the big-picture goals in small stages to avoid overwhelming the students at the outset. Staying true to the productive failure suggestions, more limited guidance and instruction were initially given to the students who, as expected based on their Gen Z profile, reacted negatively to the lack of detail. The fact that the project was real versus theoretical was withheld until students became more comfortable with the subject matter. A calculated effort was made to divide the project into manageable stages within their capabilities, allowing them to acclimate to each stage before proceeding, with the assumption that giving the students all of the information at once might cause creative paralysis and failure of the entire project.
The class of 36 students was divided into 6 equal teams, with each student taking on a distinct leadership role within the team in Phases I and II before the project was opened up to the much larger, interdisciplinary groups. At every phase, due to the importance of the role of teachers as “experts” (Lucantonio, 2011), more and more true experts were added to ensure the overall project’s success. The small group component was structured in Phases I and II to build familiarity and comfort in the small teams prior, easing students into their unfamiliar roles. Based on surveys and an analysis of previous experiences with the students and their work styles, each group was designed to contain a mixture of fixed and growth mindsets. While those with a growth mindset were expected to readily accept the challenge as an opportunity to excel, those with a fixed mindset typically work well in groups, so a balance of support for each type of learner was sought.
The project consisted of four stages:
Phase I: research
(engineered failure project launched in between phase I and II.)
Phase II: conceptual studies and program narrative
Phase III: spatial planning and design development/conceptual interactive ideas/materials and finishes
Phase IV: exhibition model fabrication/3-D renderings/human factors/museum studies
Students were initially charged with researching the purpose of the United Nations, its past successes and failures, its mission, and various case studies. They were directed to conduct a cursory investigation of its 17 sustainability goals, then to dive into a deeper understanding of one particular, randomly chosen goal. They were presented with a typical design assignment in a form that they were familiar with, but one intentionally crafted to require a level of global insight into other cultures that was somewhat unfamiliar to them. They were to design a poster (a task they had completed on numerous prior occasions) that would demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of their chosen SDG and bring about awareness of the issue to influence a particular target audience to take action. This project was ideally suited to Gen Z students, identified as the “most entrepreneurial generation,” ready to mobilize for causes through which they can make a difference and improve the world according to their values. Also being open to others’ points of view and willing to empathize with those in dire circumstances, they would naturally be invested in such a project (Carson, 2018; Francis & Hoefel, 2018). In addition, a survey indicated that the vast majority — 91.6% — either agreed or strongly agreed that working on a project for a real client helps them learn (Nicholas, 2020). With the specific learning techniques that this age group of students tended to relate to, the instructors felt that this would be a successful project.
The assignment was introduced somewhat vaguely, with no direct instruction (i.e., no step-by-step on how to approach a reasonable level of research or solution) but leaving room for interpretation and exploration. This approach was in line with procedures discussed in the 2017 study (Kapur & Bielaczyc, 2012) and incorporated Dewey’s idea that exact directions can lead to a lack of creativity (Stoller, 2013, Dewey, 1934). To immerse themselves in this research stage of the project, students were encouraged to deeply investigate subjects with representatives of other cultures appropriate to the work, to explore presentations by experts outside the field of design, and to take advantage of video and other resources (an approach known as flipping the classroom) (Baepler et al., 2014). Despite this multifaceted approach, however, it was expected that the students would bring merely a surface level of understanding to their solution, one influenced by their personal backgrounds and preconceptions (Rosling, 2009). With communications design becoming more globalized, requiring more universal thinking and a consideration of multiple perspectives (Cheng, 2014; Davis, 2020), it has become critical that students are trained to meet these expectations of being more globally aware with more in depth thought processes. If designers do not truly empathize with the subjects of their work, they could fail to accomplish the level of critical design necessary for their solution to be completely successful. Here is where the failure began.
To ensure that the students were able to handle this type of assignment in the least damaging way, they had been subtly prepared using multiple methods. During the two prior years they had been exposed to the idea that failure can be an important part of the creative process, and discussions occurred over their mind shift on the very definition of failure. During this time, they were also instructed in the importance of removing their personal feelings from their work, and understanding that critiques were directed at the work only and not meant as personal censure. In addition, a post-critique class meeting dedicated to discussions around the experts’ advice was held to help them process the information, recover, and move on to the next stage (van de Pol et al., 2010). The assignment itself was geared aligned with their skill level (both technical and conceptual abilities), and instruction and resources were provided that would facilitate their ability to engage in in-depth research. Instructor support was available but offered at strategic stages, so students would have the opportunity to build a degree of insight into their project prior to a lecture that was more meaningful than it would have been without their preliminary efforts (Sinha & Kapur, 2019).
When the results of this preliminary assignment were due for presentation, a panel of experts in SDGs was brought in to critically analyze the work. Bringing experts from different fields relevant to the project to give instruction and tailored evaluation was designed to further enhance the experience in a meaningful way that would expand knowledge beyond the limited expertise and perspective of the instructor. This was a key to the failure critique: having outside experts opens the discussion to multiple viewpoints (Souleles 2017, Muratovski, 2011). When determining if an assignment has resulted in a failure, especially in the more subjective and creative fields, it can be more difficult to challenge the instructor’s assessment if additional experts are brought in as well.
The assessment that Gen Z students are typically intolerant of criticism but value the knowledge of experts (Nichols, 2020) supported this decision as well, as we assumed that expert advice would make the critique more about improving their work than attacking it. The judges, experts in SDGs with global experiences and viewpoints, understood that this would be a low-risk failure exercise for the students. They knew that this assignment was not graded but that students needed to understand a true global perspective; if the work did not reflect that perspective, the experts could give honest assessments of how it failed to do so. The experts’ insights were meant to reveal that a depth of knowledge was missing and that students would need to engage in much broader, more thorough research in order to achieve success.
With the hope that the assignment had fulfilled its purpose in preparing students to be receptive to new knowledge and to comprehend the next level of instruction, no further time was spent correcting or perfecting the assignment after its completion. There were, however, lengthy discussions about the processes, the research, and, most importantly, the shift in perspectives to a target that the students were directed to understand. Ideally, the engineered failure revealed the depths their SDG research was expected to reach and primed them for the considerable amount of work yet to come.
This prototype seeks to build on productive failure as “engineered failure,” specific to communications design. To maximize its effectiveness, conditions need to be set up regarding the scope of the overall project, the nature of the small failure assignment, the content and timing of the assignment, the way in which the failure is evaluated (Gaver et al., 2009), and the redirection of the failure toward deeper knowledge and ultimate success.
Students were shocked and stymied after the expert critique, temporarily unable to proceed without deeper instruction from their professors as they reached an impasse phase (Lubart, 2001; Sawyer, in press). However, upon review of the project failure aspects of the surveys, two findings were of note: a majority of the students thought that expert critiques were “extremely helpful” and “improved their work,” despite including criticism that the projects were inaccurate, biased, and occasionally insulting to the demographics students were trying to help (see Figure 1). Additionally, despite the rigorous critique, an overwhelming majority of students, roughly 89%, experienced a degree of difficulty in trying to reach a global perspective in their work (extremely: 28%, very: 50%, moderately: 11%), but still ranked “gaining a global perspective” very high in importance and felt like they had achieved this goals. Post-surveys indicated that 100% of the students who answered were subsequently able to think more globally than before. When asked about the failure project and what they would have done differently, “dig deeper” in terms of research, “learn to think more globally,” and “learn to design from multiple perspectives” ranked high. Many students followed up with personal messages of appreciation, an indication that the assignment did not diminish their trust in or respect for the instructors, but indeed had the opposite effect. One could argue that a smaller failure project might allow for a more supportive teaching moment without the potential of failure in front of a larger audience, real experts in SDGs, and the United Nations itself.
Figure 1 Students’ views on the impact expert critiques on their work. Source: Author
Introducing a project using productive failure (“Productive Failure (PF), Learning Design, Four Core Mechanisms,” n.d.), in which failure becomes an objective and expected outcome, was deemed vital to ensuring the success of a broader endeavor and was therefore implemented in the project’s early stages. The magnitude of the overall project was such that an ultimate failure would have lasting consequences for everyone involved — in the classroom and beyond, for the client and their global audience — so it became imperative to first allow the students to experience failure on a small scale, teaching them how to recover and proceed without becoming creatively paralyzed. While research is scarce regarding the effects of intentionally using failure in communications design curricula, many in the field consider their experiences of turning failure into successful solutions as “happy accidents” (Fail Again, Fail Better, n.d.) that often include “war stories” of unforgettable, mind-shifting moments. This justifies not only the methodical introduction of failure into the classroom, but more extensive studies into its efficacy.
One can make the determination that, after the project failed, students recovered and adapted from their initial critiques, regrouped, dug deeper into their research, and, upon reflection, understood the true point of the failure project — that their work needed more empathy and a deeper understanding of their target audience and subject matter obtained through a more global perspective that, until the moment of failure, a majority of the students had never experienced. After the exercise, they began to conceptualize globally and design less from what they “knew” initially but what they learned as deeper knowledge was derived through failure (TEDLugano, 2019). After seeing the results of the larger project in which the students, professors, and clients were pleased with the end product, it became clear there should be more intentional failure projects in design curricula, along with efforts to change the perception of failure. As VanLehn et al. suggest, the real “learning comes from the student’s perception of failure rather than the actual failure.” (VanLehn et al., 2003).
Ajjawi, R., Dracup, M., Zacharias, N., Bennett, S., & Boud, D. (2019, October). Persisting students’ explanations of and emotional responses to academic failure. Higher Education Research & Development, 39(2), 185-199.
Baepler, P., Walker, J. D., & Driessen, M. (2014). It’s not about seat time: Blending, flipping, and efficiency in active learning classrooms. Computers & Education, 78, 227-236.
Brown, B. (2019). Negative effects of standardized testing. Digital Commons, California State University. https://digitalcommons.csumb.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1460&context=caps_thes_all
Carson, B. (2018, February, 11). Growth mindset-Gen Z-Profit: What do these have in common? Elan James Consulting Group.
Cheng, R. (2014). Designers designing design education. Journal of Architectural Education, 68(1), 12–14. https://doi.org/10.1080/10464883.2014.864895
Davis, M. (personal communication, January 20, 2020)
Dewey, J. (1934). Art as Experience (rep. 2005). New York, New York. Penguin Group.
Fail Again, Fail Better. (n.d.). Retrieved April 11, 2020, from http://designobserver.com/feature/fail-again-fail-better/6627
Francis, T., Hoefel, F. (2018). ‘True Gen’: Generation Z and its implications for companies. Mckinsey & Company. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/consumer-packaged-goods/our-insights/true-gen-generation-z-and-its-implications-for-companies
Gaver, W., Bowers, J., Kerridge, T., Boucher, A., & Jarvis, N. (2009, April). Anatomy of a failure: How we knew when our design went wrong, and what we learned from it. P. Fishwick (Ed.), CHI 2009 ~ Reflecting on Design (pp.2214-2222.). Boston, MA:
Kapur, M. (2008) Productive Failure, COGNITION AND INSTRUCTION, 26:3, 379-424, DOI: 10.1080/07370000802212669
Kapur, M. (2010). Productive failure in mathematical problem solving. Instructional Science, 38, 523–550.
Kapur, M., & Bielaczyc, K. (2012). Designing for productive failure. Journal of the Learning Sciences, 21, 45–83.
Kelly, R. (2018). Design in decline: Breathing new life into an industry through education. DMI: Journal, 13, 41-52.
Kelly, R., Hemsley, J., & Duan, Y. (2020) [Democratizing design: A study of Dribbble.com’s impact on industry and education]. Unpublished raw data.
Lenz, B. (2018, April 8). Failure is essential learning. Edutopia.
Levy, F., & Murnane, R. J. (2004). The new division of labor: How computers are creating the next job market. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Lucantonio, D. (2011). The role of contingency in the scaffolding process. Bulletin of the University of Electro-Communications, 23-1, 11-1.
Lubart, T. (2001) Models of the creative process: Past, present and future. Creativity Research Journal, 13(3-4), 295-308, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326934CRJ1334_07
Moon, Tonya R., Brighton, Catherine M., Callahan, Carolyn M. (2002, March 31). State standardized testing programs: friend or foe of gifted education? Retrieved from https://eric.ed.gov/?id=ED463300
Morgan, H. (2016, June 2). Relying on high-stakes standardized tests to evaluate schools and teachers: A bad idea. Retrieved from http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/00098655.2016.1156628
Muratovski, G. (2011). In Pursuit of new knowledge. The need for a shift from a multidisciplinary to a transdisciplinary model of doctoral design education and research. Conference proceedings on ‘Doctoral Educational in Design’ (Hong Kong, 22-25 May 2011) organized by Hong Kong Polytechnic University School of the Design and the Swinburne University of Technology Faculty of Design.
Nicholas, A. J. (2020). Preferred learning methods of generation Z. Digital Commons. https://digitalcommons.salve.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1075&context=fac_staff_pub
Pantazi, J. (2019, September 29). 8 negative effects of overprotective parenting. www.Youniverse. https://www.youniversetherapy.com/post/8-negative-effects-of-overprotective-parenting#:~:text=Overprotective%20parenting%20leads%20to%20oversensitive,and%20depression%20in%20adult%20life.
Perrin, J., O’Neil, J., Grimes, A., Bryson, L. (2014, April). Do learners fear more than fear itself: The role of fear in law students’ educational experiences. Journal of Education and Training Studies, 2(2), pp. 67-75.
Productive Failure (PF): Learning design, four core mechanisms. (n.d.). Retrieved May 8, 2020, from https://www.manukapur.com/productive-failure/
Productive failure in mathematical problem solving - ProQuest. (n.d.). Retrieved April 1, 2020, from https://search-proquest-com.libezproxy2.syr.edu/docview/804112084?accountid=14214&pq-origsite=summon
Resnick, L., & Zurawsky, C. (2005, spring). Getting back on course: Standards-based reform and accountability. American Educator. Retrieved June 30, 2006, from http://www.aft.org/pubs-reports/american_educator/issues/spring05/resnick.htm
Rosling, H. (2009). Hans Rosling. Significance, 6(4), 179–181. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1740-9713.2009.00394.x
Rolsing, H., Rosling, O. : How not to be ignorant about the world | TED Talk. (n.d.). Retrieved May 08, 2020, from https://www.ted.com/talks/hans_and_ola_rosling_how_not_to_be_ignorant_about_the_world
Sawyer, K. (In press). The role of failure in learning how to create in art and design. Thinking Skills and Creativity.
Sinha, T., & Kapur, M. (2019). When productive failure fails. Learning Sciences and Higher Education. Cognitive Science Society. July 24-27., 2019. Montreal, Canada
Sitkin, S. B. (1990). Learning through failure: The strategy of small losses. Department of Management.
Skaar, H. (2013). Why students plagiarise from the internet: The views and practices in three Norwegian upper secondary classrooms. International Journal for Educational Integrity, 1833-2595.
Song, Y., & Kapur, M. (2017). How to Flip the Classroom – “Productive Failure or Traditional Flipped Classroom.” Journal of Educational Technology & Society, 20, 292-305.
Souleles, N. (2017). Design for social change and design education: Social challenges versus teacher-centered pedagogies. The Design Journal, 20(sup1), S927–S936. https://doi.org/10.1080/14606925.2017.1353037
Stoller, A. (2013). Educating from failure: Dewey's aesthetics and the case for failure in educational theory. The Journal of Aesthetic Education, 47(1), 22-35. doi:10.5406/jaesteduc.47.1.0022
TEDLugano. (2019, September). Manu Kapur: Productive Failure [Video File]. Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VOKJmg34wME
United Nations. (n.d.). About the Sustainable Development Goals - United Nations Sustainable Development. Retrieved January 12, 2020, from https://www.un.org/sustainabledevelopment/sustainable-development-goals/
van de Pol, J., Volman, M., & Beishuizen, J. (2010). Scaffolding in teacher-student Interaction: A Decade of research. Educational Psychology Review, 22(3), 271-296. Retrieved October 19, 2020, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/23364144
van de Pol, J., Volman, M., Oort, F., & Beishuizen, J. J. (2015). The effects of scaffolding in the classroom: Support contingency and student independent working time in relation to student achievement, task effort and appreciation of support. Instructional Science, 43(5), 615-641. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11251-015-9351-z
VanLehn, K. 1999. Rule learning events in the acquisition of a complex skill: An evaluation of cascade. The Journal of the Learning Sciences, 8(1): 71–125.
VanLehn, K., Siler, S., Murray, C., Yamauchi, T., & Baggett, W. B. (2003). Why do only some events cause learning during human tutoring? Cognition and Instruction, 2(3), 209–249.
 In September 2015, the General Assembly adopted the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, which includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Building on the principle of “leaving no one behind,” the new Agenda emphasizes a holistic approach to achieving sustainable development for all.
 The premise of the students’ failure was not based on typical failure characteristics such as lack of preparation or poor study habits (Ajjawi et al., 2019) but on Hans and Ola Rosling’s theory that students will misinterpret the world’s greatest issues based on their own biases (e.g., upbringing, location), what they encounter through the media, and their own educational backgrounds (Hans and Ola Rosling: How not to be ignorant about the world | TED Talk. (n.d.).
 In this context, the term “engineered failure” describes a type of productive failure with a specific outcome objective. In addition to intentionally teaching students to develop skills for overcoming the negative effects of failure in general, an engineered failure involves a specific lesson embedded early in a larger endeavor, ideally with real-world implications, which ultimately adds to the success of the overall work. It tends to be more subjective in nature, with less precise answers expected.