The Super Mario Effect

If at first you don’t succeed, try and try again.”

Learning a new skill requires a willingness to fail over and over again. You may never be perfect, but if you keep at it, over time, you fail less often. Before you know it, you become more consistent as you apply lessons from each attempt. Among the obstacles in your way are motivation and time. Given the right amount of motivation and thousands of hours you’ll progress from novice to proficiency and eventually to mastery.

We often don’t need to master these new skills and we eventually practice less and less. To practice beyond our early engagement, we need something to sustain the initial motivation. For some, curiosity, career opportunities, and a learner’s mindset are enough to draw you to a subject but without passion and discipline, these efforts quickly wane. Depending on how necessary the new skill is, this can be enough or leave you just short of your goal. The challenge for instructors lies in stoking rather than smothering motivation.

Facilitators and teachers can learn a lot about motivating the learning by considering the obstacles before them: passion, time, incentive, and embarrassment.   To overcome these obstacles, we must reframe learning and destigmatize failure. There is no better example of this than video games, namely Super Mario.

focus photo of super mario luigi and yoshi figurines

Photo by Pixabay on

In Super Mario you must dodge enemies, leap pits, and climb obstacles to save the princess. As you play, you’ll fail more times than you can count but many stick through these failures and reach the castle. Their motivation is sustained because, to them, succeeding is worth it. In this mindset, failure isn’t embarrassing or shameful, it’s a chance to learn and adjust. Maybe you jump sooner next time, or you run up to the gap instead. Stringing together these small successes allows you to learn. The motivation to succeed doesn’t end when you fall into the pit. We are no longer driven by the fear of failure and learn far more from the challenge.

How do we apply this?

In designing material to motivate through failure, we can:

  • Incentivize trying again and again
  • Remove negative consequences for incorrect attempts and/or failure
  • Provide small rewards that sustain the effort through to the end
  • Frame failure as an opportunity, not the end
  • Create learning environments that allow the learner to build on what they’ve learned to engage the next level
  • Consider learning games that reinforce your teaching.

As learners:

  • Don’t be afraid to fail!
  • Have fun!

For more information on the Super Mario effect, check out this TED talk by Mark Rober!

OC Portfolios Beta Test

This week, we began a new initiative to launch the OCPortfolios website. This new tool will allow us to maintain and celebrate our learning environment while serving to connect our organization in a new way. Currently, we have so many incredible leaders and teachers whose talents may not be widely known. The field teams they work with are daily blessed by their skills but hundreds or even thousands of miles separate them from their fellow workers. This tool will allow us to make our skills and resumes not just visible but searchable to the rest of our organization, allowing for an increase in collaboration and mutual edification. As an added benefit, this tool will allow Personnel to keep up to date, digital, accessible records on our entire team making their lives easier and our documents cleaner!

We’re currently testing this program with about 25 OC employees and will keep you updated on the benefits and viability of the program. For now, here’s a screenshot of the database. Let us know what you think!


OC Portfolios Preview

What’s New at the OCLC?

Good afternoon, OC Learners!

OC new-hire, Thomas Scott     In a certain light, I’m what’s new at the OCLC. My name is Thomas Scott and I was recently hired as the new OCLC coordinator. I am excited to be a part of One Challenge and to maintain and curate the OCLC learning environment. If you have any questions, technical difficulties, or learning needs please let me know so I can help!

     As we continue to grow as an organization and you continue to grow as an individual, there will be so many opportunities to learn and share wisdom. If you haven’t been to the learning center in some time, feel free to browse our courses to see what’s new; hopefully, you’ll find some useful lessons! When you think of something we can add, let me know and we’ll get to work on expanding our knowledge-base. Even more, if there is something you would like to teach I can help you plan the course and get the content ready for our organization to engage and grow.

     Moving forward, I plan to use this blog to announce updates in the content of the OCLC. More than that, I’ll be sure to share what I’m learning as I grow in this new role and keep you in the know on learning events and opportunities around the USMC.

See you next time!

-Thomas Scott

New Course: Using Office 365

office-365-iconOffice 365 is a massive collection of applications and services offered by Microsoft – the creators of Windows and the popular Office Suite.  As an OC employee you have access to an incredible amount of applications to foster productivity and collaboration through the Office 365 for Business Premium plan.

So much is possible with the Office 365 making it one of the best option in productivity tools on the internet.  With so many apps, services, and features comes a rather steep learning curve.  Fortunately, Microsoft provides a lot of documentation, training, videos, etc. to help their users use each app to it’s fullest potential.

This course shares

  • what you get with your 365 account
  • how to get help and find the information you need
  • some helpful websites and videos
  • an archive of one-page guides for each app or service

Use this course as a reference when you run into problems or take it now in preparation for the Office 365 rollout in OC.

OC’s Foundations

worldEvery ministry decision you make will help or hinder you as you work to accomplish God’s will for you, your team, and the USMC as a whole.  But how can we know God’s will as we make ministry decisions?

The Holy Spirit has given OC a vision, mission, strategy, and guiding principles.  These statements and values show us God’s plans and desires for OC.  If we are to be in God’s will, we must be working to accomplish the mission He has given us.  If we aren’t working towards the accomplishment of our mission, we are not in God’s will and in sin.

It’s absolutely essential that we know, understand, and are able to use OC’s guiding statements and values to make ministry decisions.  A new course on the Learning Center, Understanding OC’s Foundations, helps us to discover and critically consider OC’s guiding statements and how to use them properly.

Appointees and new missionaries are especially encouraged to visit and revisit this course so that our guiding statements not only become known in our minds but become ingrained in our hearts as well.  Our veteran missionaries could also benefit from taking this course, since we’ve recently re-written our guiding statements.

Come to the Learning Center and check out our latest course, Understanding OC’s Foundations and discover what God’s will is for OC.

Partnership in Missions

“It’s easier to do it on my own.”  “If you want something done right, do it yourself.”  “Sharing on a project would be too difficult.”

If we’re honest with each other, we’ve all had thoughts like this – reasons why we don’t want to partner or collaborate with another person, group or organization.  And at the time, they seem like good reasons.

On the other hand, God has designed humans to work together to accomplish His will.  He has structured His will in such a way that we absolutely must work together to get anywhere.  Paul describes the church as one body working together – we can’t get anything done without one another.

The Partnership in Missions suite of courses on the Learning Center provides the basics of developing partnerships with other ministries and organizations.  Find out:

  • The biblical and practical motivations to use partnerships
  • God’s Design for Partnership
  • What needs to happen behind the scenes
  • Exploring the possibility of partnership
  • Step-by-step instructions for the partnership formation meeting
  • The characteristics of an excellent partnership facilitator
  • Various network and partnership structures
  • An end-to-end example of developing a partnership

Get started with Partnership in Missions to learn how to develop a partnership from start to finish.

Five Tips to Thrive in Online Learning

A world class learning experience is five tips away.
  1. Be really curious!  In every moment, want to know and understand more.
  2. Embrace a culture of learning over a culture of earning.  Concern yourself with learning and growing personally instead of getting that A+.
  3. Manage your time well.  Where are you going to carve out the time to devote to being curious and learning?
  4. Build connections.  Be aware of the people behind the course (instructors, learners, authors, etc).  Reach out and connect with these people.
  5. Leave it a little better than it was when you first came.  Contribute to the learning environment, your fellow learners, and the course.


What else might you add to this list to make it even better learning experience!