Category Archives: Uncategorized

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

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.

You Need More Days at the Beach!!!

Take a moment to be honest with yourself: Do you take all your vacation days?  Do you leave work at work when you’re on vacation?  Do you let yourself enjoy the time off?

Taking more vacation (or the full number we’re given) has been linked to increased happiness, better performance, even higher raises!  Check out this infographic from

Where are you planning to go on your next vacation?  Let us know in the comments below.

Get Moving at Work

Eight long hours sitting in that desk chair!  Wouldn’t it be nice to get the blood flowing through your legs again and lose a few pounds?  Check out this infographic from LlyodsOnlineDoctor and NeoMam Studios.


Do you have favorite exercises that you use while at work?

Learning Center Upgraded and Available

The Learning Center has been upgraded!  This upgrade includes some exciting new improvements to the mobile experience with the Learning Center.  Try it out on your phones and tablets!

We’ll continue to make changes to the site throughout Wednesday and the rest of the week, but you may work on your courses, messages other learners, and operate as normal.  Thank you for your patience.

Let us know what you think about the new features.

Upgrading the Learning Center – Site Down Wednesday 6/22

boom-1362920_640On Wednesday, June 22, 2016, we will be upgrading Moodle, the application on which the Learning Center runs.  During this time, the website will be down and unavailable to all users.  Please adjust your plans accordingly.

For our Learning Center mobile users, this upgrade will provide some exciting new improvements that will make your experience more enjoyable and seamless.  For more information on the exciting new changes, please visit the official Moodle documentation.

A second post will be issued when the upgrade is complete.

Thank you for your patience.