Date: Wednesday, January 19 2022 @3:30PM -04:30PM

Title: Student Emotions in Productive Failure

Location: Online

Speaker: Zach Savelson


Productive failure (PF) is a learning paradigm that reverses the standard order of instruction by asking students to solve problems prior to instruction. This paradigm has been shown to be effective for fostering student learning. To date, however, the role of student emotion in productive failure has not been investigated. In other paradigms, there is some evidence that certain negative emotions may interfere with learning and that failure may increase negative emotions. This leads to a conundrum given productive failure’s positive effect on learning. To shed light on this, we report on results from a study (N = 48) in the PF paradigm. For the analysis, we used a mixed methods approach to investigate the distribution of emotions in productive failure, how these changed across different instructional activities, and the relation between emotions and posttest performance.


 Zach was first introduced to Cognitive Science through his Bachelors’ degree at McGill University. His undergraduate research focused on decision-making and how we can manipulate people’s choices when faced with two negative stimuli. His Masters’ and now PhD work focuses on the field of education- specifically looking at the interaction between students’ emotions and collaboration and their learning outcomes.