Learning is for Losers: A Pedagogically-Guided Process

9 Pages Posted: 5 Feb 2013 Last revised: 10 Jan 2014

See all articles by Nina A. Kollars

Nina A. Kollars

College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John's University (SJU); Ohio State University (OSU)

Amanda Rosen

Webster University


Innovation, learning, creativity, and change are all fueledby a single counterintuitive phenomenon - the necessity of failure. It is onlythrough trial and error that change, and innovation actually occur. Yet, the vast majority of classes, tests, and learning assessments focus only on correct paths and right answers. Moreover, in gaming and simulation, particularemphasis is placed on winning, winning strategies, and competition for“rightness.” We argue that this singular emphasis leaves all the good stuff behind; inordinately rewards the learning of the winner over the processes of all others involved; and creates a tacit bias toward a single right answer to complex problems. This paper advances an analysis of games and simulations commonly utilized in political science and offers a guided process for recovering the knowledge of losers.

Keywords: games, simulations, teaching, political science, losing, losers

Suggested Citation

Kollars, Nina A. and Rosen, Amanda, Learning is for Losers: A Pedagogically-Guided Process. APSA 2013 Teaching and Learning Conference Paper, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2211730 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2211730

Nina A. Kollars (Contact Author)

College of Saint Benedict (CSB) and Saint John's University (SJU) ( email )

P.O. Box 2000
St. Joseph and Collegeville, MN 56321
United States

Ohio State University (OSU) ( email )

Blankenship Hall-2010
901 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH OH 43210
United States

Amanda Rosen

Webster University ( email )

470 E. Lockwood Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63119
United States

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