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Part 1: Failing spectacularly makes for rapid learning

Sarah Vaughan

Having recently read about the new Oxford University vaccine, it was deeply encouraging to learn how Britain’s wealthiest academic institution accidentally stumbled across their solution. Yes, rather than it being a fundamental part, of a meticulously planned scientific test, the vaccine appears to have been discovered by error. Good ol classic human error!  

Whether it is a driving test (ahem a few times…shame emoji), or an exam, not giving up is a sign of incredible resilience. When I reflect on our learners today, be they K12 pupils, students in Higher Education, or reskilling adults and what they have been through this year, I can only salute and admire their tenacity and drive to keep on keeping on. Even in the grimmest of circumstances. A year when the word ‘social’, became synonymous with leper, and peer-based, or group-led, community-centred learning was confined behind pixels.  

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Speaking more broadly, one thing I admire about the Higher Education sector is its ability to embrace failure and adapt to learn. The academic sector's flexibility, and ongoing commitment to continuous improvement, using community-driven processes and peer-review methods.    

So, as we all stumble out of 2020 like bedraggled Armageddon escapees, knackered but not defeated. The critical Human Factor for me has been resolve, or will, as it is commonly known. Once you crack the empowerment code, coupled with your desire to improve, it becomes imperative to get back on the horse, mule, or your public transportation vessel of choice. We must all now find the resolve to keep learning, keep improving and continue educating ourselves to grow, that is what this year has been all about 

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