Summary “Probing boundary conditions of Productive Failure and analysing the role of young students collaboration”

A research team led by Claudia Mazziotti investigate whether Productive Failure is a successful method of teaching elementary school children ⎮ 1 min read

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Productive Failure (PF) is a different approach to learning because lessons are designed so students solve a problem before the instructions are provided by the teacher. Students have the opportunity to collaborate and discuss the problem from different angles and at high school and university this approach to learning is generally successful. However, a research team led by Claudia Mazziotti from Ruhr University, the University of Education, Germany, and ETH Zurich, Switzerland, discovered the PF method did not benefit children's ability to learn at elementary school level in their paper, “Probing boundary conditions of Productive Failure and analysing the role of young students collaboration”. The researchers concluded the mixed results of their study partly reflected the age of the students. The children did not possess the prior knowledge or experience in collaboration that older students had when they were tested using the PF approach in other studies, which diminished the objective of the experiment.  

For a detailed review of the experiment's design and results, the paper is freely available to read here via our companion Journal, the Science of Learning.

Gabrielle Ahern

Managing Community Editor, npj Science of Learning Community

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