Daily Bulletin


  • Written by Muneera Bano, Lecturer Software Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology

From a very young age, we are conditioned to learn to succeed by avoiding failures or mistakes.

Our traditional education system is built largely on examination that marks down students for their mistakes in any assessed work. Students don’t often get a chance to have those mistakes highlighted early on so they can correct them before any final assessment.

But in research published this month we show how we used the mistakes information technology students make to help them learn and improve their marks in assessment, if they were keen to do so.

Read more: Protecting your kids from failure isn't helpful. Here's how to build their resilience

How to embrace mistakes

Mistakes can be valuable learning opportunities that help us all to improve ourselves.

In our curriculum design, we should shift the focus from penalising the mistakes students make, to how well they can learn from and improve upon their mistakes.

In our study we experimented by formally embracing mistakes made by IT students at University of Technology Sydney. We turned their mistakes into an educational resource to help them improve their communication and interpersonal skills.

There is a lack of resources for teachers of IT to show students how to effectively conduct interviews with clients or potential business customers.

Our research aim was to help these students develop those skills.

We used a corrective feedback learning approach, which advocates using failures or mistakes as learning opportunities. We designed an activity the students would repeat and at each stage we provided feedback and asked them to reflect on their mistakes.

We would then observe – but not mark – the progress of the students in each iteration. It’s important students are given a chance to improve upon their mistakes after each feedback.

Keen IT students can improve their marks when given a chance to learn from their mistakes Designing activity tasks to ‘learn from mistakes’.

Role-play interviews

Our study was conducted over two semesters with a total of 348 students enrolled in the Master of Information Technology’s unit of Enterprise Business Requirements at UTS.

One of the tasks for students was a role-playing activity. They were required to play a business analyst and interview a client about their technology and software needs.

We’ve seen in the past that students in this unit struggled with the social aspects of the interviewing task. So we designed the task by providing students with the opportunity to interview the client three times.

They received feedback on their mistakes at the end of every round and were given an opportunity to improve for the next round.

In the first semester, we observed the students and developed a list of 34 mistakes they made while interviewing a client, such as mistakes in communication skills, analyst behaviour, interaction with customer, and teamwork and planning.

In the second semester, we used that list of mistakes to monitor the progress the students made in all three iterations of the role-play interview activity.

After three interviews with the client, the students submitted a report for final assessment. It was on that report alone that they were marked.

For those students who scored low (below 50%) or average (50% and 60%) on their final assessment, they showed little motivation to improve their mark in all three rounds of feedback.

But those who scored 90% or more in their final assessment showed they were motivated to improve their mark. They made fewer mistakes in the second and third iterations of the interview, in comparison to their first interview.

These students improved upon their mistakes in communication, teamwork, planning and personal skills.

Read more: How to make good arguments at school (and everywhere else)

But the top-scoring students still struggled with the customer interaction part even by the third interview. When asked, the students reflected later that they needed more practice to improve that part of interviewing skills.

We can all learn from mistakes

The experiment found we need to include more preparation for students to develop and practise their skills.

Some university courses may already be doing this kind of feedback in assessment, but that wasn’t the case in our IT unit.

By providing a safe and simulated environment for our students to practise self-reflection and try to improve, our hope is that it offers a chance to build resilience and prepare mentally for the real world outside the classroom.

Authors: Muneera Bano, Lecturer Software Engineering, Swinburne University of Technology

Read more http://theconversation.com/keen-it-students-can-improve-their-marks-when-given-a-chance-to-learn-from-their-mistakes-122792

Writers Wanted

To learn at home, kids need more than just teaching materials. Their brain must also adapt to the context


The Conversation


Prime Minister's Remarks to Joint Party Room

PRIME MINISTER: Well, it is great to be back in the party room, the joint party room. It’s great to have everybody back here. It’s great to officially welcome Garth who joins us. Welcome, Garth...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

BEN FORDHAM: Scott Morrison, good morning to you.    PRIME MINISTER: Good morning, Ben. How are you?    FORDHAM: Good. How many days have you got to go?   PRIME MINISTER: I've got another we...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Kieran Gilbert, Sky News

KIERAN GILBERT: Kieran Gilbert here with you and the Prime Minister joins me. Prime Minister, thanks so much for your time.  PRIME MINISTER: G'day Kieran.  GILBERT: An assumption a vaccine is ...

Daily Bulletin - avatar Daily Bulletin

Business News

7 foolproof tips for bidding successfully at a property auction

Auctions can be beneficial for prospective buyers, as they are transparent and fair. If you reach the limit you are willing to pay, you can simply walk away. Another benefit of an auction is tha...

Dominique Grubisa - avatar Dominique Grubisa

Getting Ready to Code? These Popular and Easy Programming Languages Can Get You Started

According to HOLP (History Encyclopedia of Programing Languages), there are more than 8,000 programming languages, some dating as far back as the 18th century. Although there might be as many pr...

News Co - avatar News Co

Avoid These Mistakes When Changing up Your Executive Career

Switching up industries is a valid move at any stage in your career, even if you’re an executive. Doing so at this stage can be a lot more intimidating, however, and it can be quite difficult know...

News Co - avatar News Co

News Co Media Group

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion