If you are like me, the first time you tried to ride a bike you initially hopped along trying to steady and balance the bike.  This in its essence is failing; in that, you did not achieve the desired outcome. However, it was nothing like the time you fell and scraped your knee.  But, you carried on, and after each failure you received some coaching from Mom, Dad or whomever your teacher happened to be.  After the many attempts and failures you succeeded. You found the rhythm complemented by the wind in your hair and cheering teacher alongside you. Unfortunately, many of us forgot the most important lesson in riding a bike, how to fail.

The iterative nature of learning to ride a bike, then getting up, falling down, and trying again creates a cycle in which highly impactful and deeper learning can occur. We call it the FLeRD.  It is a mighty fun acronym which stands for Fail, Learn, Renew, Do, which when implemented ultimately leads to success.

  • FAILing on its own, is just that failing.  Nothing is learned. Nothing is gained, only heartache and pain.
  • LEARNing takes place when we start to look at our failure and review what went wrong.This retrospection allows us analyze what can do differently and adjust.
  • RENEWal occurs though formulating a plan to adjust and fix the failure points the process cycles back in the final phase.
  • DOing allows us to shift our critical path away from the previous failure towards ultimate success.
  • So FLeRD your way to success!

During the past year, I have had the opportunity to both witness and take part in many student failures, and each time we have encountered them we celebrated.  Failure became such a large part of our success that it became commonplace for students to respond with “Fail” when queried, “what does this class do best?”

When FLeRDing failure in the Scrum Framework, students begin to look to fail. If fact, teams try to get failures out of the way. In essence, failure becomes part of the process, and simply something the group must move through before success can be realized. It essentially becomes core to the learning and discovery mechanism.

Society has put so an emphasis on success, that we easily dismiss the failures that have led to the success that we cherish so much. I personally believe that failure is a prerequisite to success, and learning to fail is critical a student’s ultimate success. It is our task to ensure that our students not only learn to fail, but learn as much from the failures as their successes.