Today’s college students often feel an immense pressure to succeed coupled with a paralyzing fear of failure. Failure in any aspect of college life can increase “fear of not making it” (FONMI), which leads to increased college drop out rates (Hibbs & Rostain, 2019). As instructional technologists, our goal is to find ways to use technology to create purposeful learning experiences for our students that extend beyond the classroom. Considering the fear of failure and incorporating digital tools leads us to questions about student learning experiences and goals. How can educators make failure acceptable in courses and across campus? How can incorporating immersive technologies help students to focus on the learning process over the output?
Through our work with students on virtual reality (VR) and immersive technology projects in traditionally non-technical courses, our goal has been to shift the focus from students completing polished VR spaces to students learning from the nuanced choices and the mistakes they make in the process. While our students have expressed that they learn the most from their mistakes, the fear of failing an assignment can cause anxiety and stress and even stop their willingness to experiment outside of their comfort zone.
This session will focus on techniques and approaches for planning assignments that focus on learning outcomes through experimentation and creation, and how to work through student barriers caused by FONMI and fear of failure. We will share examples from our experiences and invite others to discuss their experiences as well. Our co-presenter, Denison student Ronald Tran, will share insights on working with these technologies from the student perspective. Sample assignments and planning documents will be available for session attendees.