Learning from Failure

The Alchemist by Mattheus van Hellemont
Chemical Heritage Foundation [Public domain or CC BY 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Earlier this semester a database demonstration went awry.  Listeners gave me topics that in no way resembled my prepared topics.  Because improvisation is not my strong suit, I let a teachable moment slip away.

Even experienced searchers rarely strike gold on the first try (Association of College & Research Libraries, 2016, Searching as Strategic Exploration section, Dispositions subsection). How can we model the messiness of the research process?

Brandt (2015) describes some effective strategies and discusses the challenges to this approach.   We can also find suitable improvisation games, such as Keyword Taboo (Markgraf, 2015).  Bellamy (2016) brings together some useful readings on teaching from failure.  Whatever specific techniques we use, we can foster the mindset of learning from our mistakes.

I’ll close with a thank-you to USM’s veterans.  Next week’s post will honor them more formally.



Association of College & Research Libraries. (2016). Framework for information literacy for higher education. Retrieved from ACRL website : http://www.ala.org/acrl/standards/ilframework

Bellamy, L. M. (2016, Fall).  The struggle is real: Facilitating information literacy learning by being leaders of failure.  LOEX Quarterly, 43(3), 8-10. Retrieved from http://commons.emich.edu/loexquarterly/vol43/iss3/4/

Brandt, S. (2015, September 22). RIOT recap [Blog post]. Retrieved from https://blogs.lib.utexas.edu/utlis/2015/09/22/riot-recap-9222015/

Markgraf, J. (2015, October 29).  Game: Keyword Taboo [Blog post].  Retrieved from http://libraryimprov.blogspot.com/2015/10/game-keyword-taboo.html



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