FAILURE & Researchers find that failing 15% of the time is the “sweet spot” for learning. #UnivOfArizona #Princeton #BrownUniv #UCLA

by Eric Mack, Inc. Magazine, 11/6/19.

…it turns out, there may be a sweet spot for failing, according to new research out from a team led by the University of Arizona with help from researchers at Brown University, Princeton, and the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Their new study, out in the journal Nature Communications and titled “The Eighty Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning,” makes the case that getting it wrong 15 percent of the time is actually the “sweet spot” for learning.

“These ideas that were out there in the education field–that there is this ‘zone of proximal difficulty,’ in which you ought to be maximizing your learning–we’ve put that on a mathematical footing,” said lead author and Arizona professor of psychology and cognitive science Robert Wilson, in a release.

“If you have an error rate of 15 percent or accuracy of 85 percent, you are always maximizing your rate of learning in these two-choice tasks,” Wilson said, adding that the 85 percent rule was also seen to hold in previous studies of animal learning.

…If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. 

“If you are taking classes that are too easy and acing them all the time, then you probably aren’t getting as much out of a class as someone who’s struggling but managing to keep up,” Wilson said.

Learning comes from challenges and challenges come with a risk of failure. What’s new is that we now know that risk should be at about 15 percent. 

FAILURE & Researchers find that failing 15% of the time is the “sweet spot” for learning. #UnivOfArizona #Princeton #BrownUniv #UCLA

by Eric Mack, Inc. Magazine, 11/6/19.

…it turns out, there may be a sweet spot for failing, according to new research out from a team led by the University of Arizona with help from researchers at Brown University, Princeton, and the University of California, Los Angeles. 

Their new study, out in the journal Nature Communications and titled “The Eighty Five Percent Rule for Optimal Learning,” makes the case that getting it wrong 15 percent of the time is actually the “sweet spot” for learning.

“These ideas that were out there in the education field–that there is this ‘zone of proximal difficulty,’ in which you ought to be maximizing your learning–we’ve put that on a mathematical footing,” said lead author and Arizona professor of psychology and cognitive science Robert Wilson, in a release.

“If you have an error rate of 15 percent or accuracy of 85 percent, you are always maximizing your rate of learning in these two-choice tasks,” Wilson said, adding that the 85 percent rule was also seen to hold in previous studies of animal learning.

…If you aren’t failing, you aren’t trying. 

“If you are taking classes that are too easy and acing them all the time, then you probably aren’t getting as much out of a class as someone who’s struggling but managing to keep up,” Wilson said.

Learning comes from challenges and challenges come with a risk of failure. What’s new is that we now know that risk should be at about 15 percent. 

FEEDBACK & Are You Sugarcoating Your Feedback Without Realizing It? Research Says Do These 4 Things Instead.

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel: I tell my church growth and health clients that I will be brutally honest with them and they must be prepared for direct and non-sugarcoated feedback. If they’re not willing to receive such feedback, then I can’t take them as a client. That is because I’ve learned over the years that without clear and honest feedback clients will misinterpret the severity of the situation. Below is research that explains the illusion of transparency bias.

Are You Sugarcoating Your Feedback Without Realizing It?

by Michael Schaerer and Roderick Swaab, Harvard Business Review, 10/8/19.

… Managers tend to inflate the feedback they give to their direct reports, particularly when giving bad news. And by presenting subpar performance more positively than they should, managers make it impossible for employees to learn, damaging their careers and, often, the company.

Previous research into this kind of feedback inflation has centered on the idea that managers deliberately sugarcoat tough messages for fear of retaliation, or to protect their employees from feeling bad about themselves. But our research shows that many managers deliver inflated feedback unintentionally, and in fact think they’ve been much more clear than is the case. These findings point to some simple ways to improve how managers impart criticism.

We believe that managers’ assumption that their direct reports understand what they mean is due to a common cognitive bias called the illusion of transparency, in which people are so focused on their own intense feelings and intentions that they overestimate the extent to which their inner worlds come across to others. As a result their words may be too vague to convey their true intent. The illusion of transparency is one of the most commoncauses of misunderstandings when we communicate with others…

What to Do About It

While it can be helpful to become aware of unintentional behaviors, overcoming them is notoriously difficult. Our research points to several ways to combat the illusion of transparency.

First, increase the frequency of feedback. As a manager, you can augment your annual appraisals with continuous reminders, ongoing training, and structured weekly or monthly “pulse checks” to break the discomfort that may be preventing you from communicating more clearly. Research has found that giving feedback more frequently makes feedback more accurate. This repetition will also help reinforce your message.

Firms should also promote a culture that encourages employees to request more candid feedback from their managers prior to appraisals. Failing that, firms can institute a formal process obligating them to do so.

… Ultimately, clarity and specificity of language are managers’ best tools. Use clear language and avoid phrases that could obscure your meaning. One phrase to avoid, for example, is “a real possibility,” which people interpret as conveying a likelihood of anywhere from 20%–80%. Also, ask your employee to paraphrase what you’ve told them to make sure they fully understand your message. Managers also need to actively encourage employees to tell them how they see their own performance. As a manager, ask open-ended questions like, “What am I not seeing here? What may I be overlooking?”

Employees themselves can dispel many incorrect assumptions by asking questions, or by requesting that managers use precise, explicit terms when delivering feedback. If your manager doesn’t ask you to rearticulate what they’ve told you, try using statements that begin, “So if I’m understanding you correctly, you’re saying…”

Read more at … https://hbr.org/2019/10/are-you-sugarcoating-your-feedback-without-realizing-it?

FEEDBACK & Harvard Research Says If You Want to Improve Your Performance Don’t Ask for Feedback, Ask For Advice

by Scott Mautz, Inc. Magazine, 8/17/19.

The normal line of thinking goes that if you want to improve at something– let’s say it’s a key sales presentation you’ve just given– that you should ask the people you just gave it to for feedback. Seems reasonable.

But the Harvard researchers discovered that there’s a real problem with this approach. Feedback is often too vague to even be helpful. And in my experience, when you frame it as asking for feedback, people often default to being nice and not wanting to say what they really think. It’s human nature. But human nature doesn’t nurture in this case, it just glosses over.

The researchers say there’s a far better alternative if you want to get better at something–ask for advice.

Why asking for advice is better than asking for feedback.

In one study, the researchers asked 200 people to give input on a job application, asking some to give feedback on the application and others to give advice. Those who gave feedback were vague and glossed over flaws in the application, giving only praise.

Those who were asked to give advice gave more critical and actionable input. In fact, advice-givers gave comments on a whopping 34 percent more areas of improvement and gave 56 percent more ways to improve. Three more studies by the researchers produced similar conclusions.

The studies also highlighted another problem with asking for advice–it’s associated with evaluations.

Imagine you just got off stage from giving that sales presentation I mentioned earlier. You then pick out an audience member to give you feedback. What happens? They immediately go into evaluation mode rather than picturing how you could do that presentation better in the future. So their comments migrate to observations of how well you did something (or not), in their minds articulating a mental letter grade they’re giving you.

But if you asked for advice instead, it puts the audience member in a different frame of mind. Now, implicit in the fact that you’re asking for advice, is the fact that you’re open to getting better.

Read more at … https://www.inc.com/scott-mautz/harvard-research-says-if-you-want-to-improve-your-performance-dont-ask-for-feedback-ask-for-advice.html

FACILITIES & Megachurch Expands Reach by Downsizing Main Facility

Commentary by Dr. Whitesel:  I’ve written a chapter in one of my books about how “over building” usually stunts church growth (you can read that chapter, the “The 7 Don’ts & 7 Do’s of Building” here).  Below is a recent story about how over building has thwarted one church’s missional flexibility.

(Download the chapter from my book by clicking on this link > BOOK ©Whitesel EXCERPT – GROWTH BY ACCIDENT Missteps with New Facilities 2. If you like the insights please support publisher and author by buying a copy here. Excerpted from Growth by Accident – Death by Planning: How Not to Kill a Growing Church, Abingdon Press, 2004, pp. 76-80.)

“Southern Baptist megachurch to downsize its campus by 90 percent.”

by Bob Allen, Baptist News Service, 9/10/19.

First Baptist Church in Jacksonville, Florida, once one of America’s most influential megachurches, determined Sept. 8 to downsize its downtown property footprint by 90 percent in a cost-cutting move the senior pastor described as necessary for the church’s long-term survival.

Under the leadership of pastors and co-pastors Homer Lindsay Sr., Homer Lindsay Jr. and Jerry Vines, First Baptist Church earned the nickname Miracle of Downtown Jacksonville after buying up real estate left behind when department stores and smaller retailers started relocating into suburban malls in the 1970s.

Today the church covers 10 city blocks with buildings including a sanctuary built to seat nearly 10,000 people that was dedicated in 1993.

image.pngHeath Lambert, named last year as sole senior pastor of First Baptist, said once a blessing, the congregation’s central location has become a curse as the city continues to expand farther away from its urban core.

“If you want to get people to come to First Baptist Church on Sunday morning, you have to get them to do two things they never do,” Lambert said during his Sunday morning sermon. “You have to get them to come to church, and you have to get them to come downtown.”

Lambert said that after 20 years of declining membership, the downtown church needs about one-tenth of its current space. Plans approved by the congregation on Sunday call for consolidating all operations into one city block.

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Wikipedia

“What we can’t do on one block, we won’t do,” the pastor said.

The plan includes borrowing $30 million to renovate Hobson Auditorium, the original 1,500-seat worship space built after a fire destroyed much of downtown Jacksonville in 1901, and to replace other buildings now used for offices with state-of-the-art construction.

Lambert said the church will eventually sell off downtown property and move toward a multi-site church model. The church currently has a south campus in Nocatee, which moved into its own building after meeting at Ponte Vedra High School for a decade in 2019.

“Instead of being the big church downtown that we ask everybody from all over to come to, we want to be a church for the whole city,” Lambert said. “Instead of asking our city to come to our church, we’re going to take our church to the city.”

Read more here … https://baptistnews.com/article/southern-baptist-megachurch-to-downsize-its-campus-by-90-percent/#.XXkddC3MywQ

FAITH & C.S. Lewis’ observation that it is: “Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” 

[To have Faith in Christ] means, of course, trying to do all that He says. There would be no sense in saying you trusted a person if you would not take his advice. Thus if you have really handed yourself over to Him, it must follow that you are trying to obey Him. But trying in a new way, a less worried way. Not doing these things in order to be saved, but because He has begun to save you already. Not hoping to get to Heaven as a reward for your actions, but inevitably wanting to act in a certain way because a first faint gleam of Heaven is already inside you.” –C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity.

Read more at … https://www.beliefnet.com/faiths/christianity/articles/why-cs-lewis-mere-christianity-still-speaks-today.aspx?utm_content=bufferb7f0d&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter&utm_campaign=CSLewis

FALLING AWAY & Did C.S. Lewis mean to imply that Susan did not reach Aslan’s Kingdom? Or did he suggest there was more to her story?

“A Plea to Narnia Fans” by Jeremy Lott, November 18, 2013.

… Susan is one of the four children, including brothers Peter and Edmund and sister Lucy, who find their way through a dimensional portal in the back of a wardrobe into the world of Narnia. Their discovery kicks off the seven-book bestselling children’s series.

She becomes Queen Susan the Gentle, one of four kings and queens of that land on the other side of the wardrobe, ruling it for a very long time. Yet when it comes time to defend Narnia in The Last Battle, Lewis’s take on the apocalypse, Queen Susan is unexpectedly AWOL.

Peter explains “shortly and gravely” that “my sister Susan is no longer a friend of Narnia.” Other Narnia kids pillory Susan in her absence for a number of things, including denying the reality of Narnia itself and embracing a permanent adolescence which excludes everything “except nylons and lipstick and invitations.”

…You see, children in the 1950s and 1960s read The Last Battle and were concerned about Queen Susan’s absence. They wrote directly to professor Lewis and he wrote them back.

What Lewis said to his favorite readers was that he hadn’t meant to suggest Susan was damned, just that her story diverged from the one he was trying to tell.

Lewis wrote to one young reader that Susan was written out of the story not because “I have no hope of Susan’s ever getting into Aslan’s country” — that is, Heaven — “but because I have a feeling that the story of her journey would be longer and more like a grown-up novel than I wanted to write.”

Lewis admitted fallibility and issued a startling invitation: “But I may be mistaken. Why not try it yourself?”

Ford calls Susan’s story “one of the most important unfinished tales of the Chronicles.”

Read more at … https://www.realclearreligion.org/articles/2013/11/19/a_plea_to_narnia_fans.html

Jeremy Lott is editor-at-large of RealClearPolitics and author, most recently, of William F. Buckley.