How to gamify your learning? #Issue 33

Good morning folks,

This week I wanted to share a personal anecdotal of mine - when I was in the 6th grade I failed my 'Hindi exam', this is when I was residing in India. And, as a result of failing my exam, I had to retake my exam once more. These retakes were called 'compartments'. And if I failed my compartment, I would have to retake the whole year. The outcome of failing my initial exam was forever printed on my A4 report card like a mocking slogan imprinted on a billboard. The mocking aspect was highlighted in a bright glistening red gel pen, which made my parent's eyes glisten with rage. I felt the disappointment of my parents and the fear that if I failed again I would have to repeat the year.

Coming across this video, an experiment ran by Mark Rober who invited 50,000 participants to solve a computational puzzle. He devised two different versions of this challenge:

Participants when they were unsuccessful, they weren't penalised any points in the mistakes they made.

But they did see this message:

That didn't work. Please try again.

Participant when they were unsuccessful, they were penalised five points.

and they saw this message:

That didn't work. You lost 5 points. You now have 195 points. Please try again.

The result of this experiment highlighted a couple of things:

  1. For those participants that were penalised, their success rate was 52%.

  2. For those who weren't penalised, their success rate was 68% but took 2.5x times to solve the puzzle. The outcome of getting better results was a result of trial and error without the fear of being penalised.

And, the result of his finding led to a thought-provoking question:

What if the learning process (experienced by a 6th grader) was reframed in a manner where I was not afraid or concerned with my failure? How much more could I have learnt? 

And, this is where Mark goes onto to highlight 'The Super Mario Effect' focusing on the princess (end goal) and not the pitfalls (mistakes and error) along the way, to stick with the task and learn more. To remember every time you fail is a learning curve to not make the same mistake.

Ultimately, it draws down to when wanting to achieve that goal regardless of how many tries you take, which is a natural part of learning. Its what you learn from those mistakes, pitfalls or error helps you get closer to your goal. As a kid, I wish I was nurtured in an environment, where failing an exam was not the end of the world. Where failing an exam didn't give anxiety to a 6th grader. I do believe kids nourish in gamifying the learning process, where the end goal should not be to get a solid grade but to focus on more meaningful goals that are the product of mistakes and learning from them.

Well, that’s all for this week.

You guys have an amazing week ahead.


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  1. Quote that I like to share: From an article by Austin Kleon

    The crucial thing, I think, is that if you do get the job title, if you do become something like an “expert” or “professional” in your field, you must retain an amateur’s spirit and remain a student, so that you can benefit from the best thing about having your work out in world: the “free education that goes on for a lifetime.”

  2. Article: Stocks — Part V: Keeping it simple, considerations and tools - someone who's relatively new to investments, I found that reading up on the knowledge provided by JL Collin has been such a benefit in expanding my investing acumen.

  3. Podcast: Unproductive Days, Content Fatigue, and cultivating Character, in this episode of Deep question by Cal Newport - highlights a few interesting thoughts on 1/ managing bad day as strategic and intentional rest recharge days to maximise your productive output. 2/ the method of Capture, Configure and control - Capture is the obligation to outsource your thoughts on to a system. Configure is a means to clarify what you have captured in your system - does the idea supplement an ongoing project, or is the idea related to a potential blog post. And, finally, control is critically looking at your daily and weekly agenda to control your output.

Blog Post

Motivational Myth by Jeff Haden - This book summary draws upon the insight of establishing processes and routines that compliments a system. With a successful system, the sight to achieve your goal becomes much easier.


Love to know you feedbacks on this video :)