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Let Your Learners Fail

If at first, you don’t succeed, try, try again. Failure is an important part of training, after all, we learn from our mistakes. So, it’s important to keep that in mind when creating your eLearning courses. Put learners through their paces so they’re engaged and work hard to achieve the badges or certificates up for grabs! 

Start with what you want to achieve; “My learners need to get a score of at least 60% to pass. If they don’t hit this grade I want them to do the course again”. This provides your learners with a strong structure to challenge themselves. And importantly, it’s really easy to set this up.

Here are some important elements which help learners to learn from their mistakes.

Exam transcript

Show learners information on their performance when they fail. You can decide the level of detail that is suitable for your organization. If the exam consists of a handful of questions it’s best not to divulge too much detail. You want to give just enough feedback so the learner’s next attempt is better, not just a copy of the correct answers!

Pass rates

Set pass rates that are achievable and challenging. Learners shouldn’t feel cheated by an impossible pass rate. Getting that balance right can often be identified during the pilot stage of the course.

The number of attempts 

Multiple attempts give learners a chance to improve their performance. Too many attempts can cause complacency to take hold. You can change the number of attempts if they begin to have a negative effect.

Feedback loop

Contacting an instructor gives the learner an opportunity to clarify the problem they’re experiencing. Communicate these conversations to the group as a whole in case others are in a similar situation and are not reaching out for support.

Clear instructions

Spend time placing in detailed descriptions and objectives when creating courses. This will reap rewards later and will result in less confusion for your learners. Clear instructions on the pass rate, number of attempts and how to seek help, gives the learner the best chance to succeed.


Upload extra resources for the learner such as reading lists, fact sheets and videos to access from their LearnUpon dashboard. You can assign resources to specific groups to customize the types of materials for each audience. These resources act as supporting materials and are really helpful for learners.

Problematic questions

If a lot of learners are failing your exams, investigate to see if it’s down to confusion. Run an exam report to identify particularly problematic sections of the course. If for example, a high % of learners are failing one specific area it may be down to the phrasing of the question. Using surveys to gather feedback on how the course is laid out is important too.


Use Gamification to encourage the completion of training. It’s also a great way to encourage those who have stumbled along the way to try again.

Now that there is a clear path to success, what follows? Do they get certified? Do they gain a badge? Do they gain access to the next course in a learning path? The answers to these questions offer you an extra layer to your training strategy. In no time you will have an efficient and high performing training regime, thanks to letting your learners fail in order to succeed





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