Embracing errors

In the 1950s and 60s, the psychologist BF Skinner advocated the adoption of "errorless learning" methods in education in the belief that errors by learners are counterproductive in result from faulty instruction. The theory of errorless learning gave rise to instructional techniques in which the learners were spoonfed new material in small bites and immediately quizzed on them while they still remained on the tongue, so speak, fresh in short-term memory and easy to spit out onto the test form. There was virtually no chance of making an error. Since those days we've come to understand that retrieval from short-term memory is an ineffective learning strategy and that errors are an integral part of striving to increase one's mastery over new material. Yet in our Western culture, where achievement is seen as an indicator of ability, many learners view errors as failure and do what they can to avoid committing them. The aversion to failure may be reinforced by instructors who labor under the belief that when learners are allowed to make errors it's the errors that they will learn.

Peter C. Brown and Henry L. Roediger III, Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning