Using Problems, Diagnostics and Solutions in eLearning – Tip #33

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What is “Learning by Oops”? Have you seen something like the error in Image 1 below when using your computer? It can be annoying, right? Don’t you sometimes want to hit your head with the keyboard or bang it on the wall when something like this comes up?  

Image 1

Image 1 is just one of the many example of errors anyone can encounter while using the computer. Some of the common computer or internet errors are error 404, page not found and server error.

The thing is, the more you try to fix it, the more you see errors on your screen. This becomes what we call “Desperation Time.” This kind of scenario does not only happen in computers but in other areas as well, like in the medical field.  

Image 2

Image 2 is from the FDA website, FDA 101: Medication Errors. This is probably the most costly error that a lot of people do in hospitals and pharmaceuticals. We encounter other errors as well, like equipment and accident errors which happen in our daily lives at home and at work. We learn from them, the hard way. That is why we call it “Learning by Oops.”

Image 3

Why do people always want to fix things? What motivates them?

Aside from our desire to ensure that things are correct, the fact is, we have been trained to know what is right and wrong and how to fix it – even at a very young age. It becomes one of our very first reflexes. 

Beng, Beng then Bingo Scenarios; Easy and Affordable to do

Image 4

Please take a look at Image 4. Notice that the bug keeps on hitting and going around the walls before it finally hits the Bingo.

Although we are basically more intelligent than bugs, most of the time we work the same way. We make mistakes and fail. Yet at the end, we learn and still hit the target.

Having said all these, here is the question: Which is better learning? (A) Trial and Error or, (B) Scientific Procedure? Why?

Image 5

Take note that in Image 5, even if (B) Scientific Procedure provides an accurate result, it still undergoes trial and error. It means that “Beng, Beng then Bingo Scenarios” always happens in the scientific approach.

Image 6 – Click here for enlarged view

In Image 6, we see a very complex and long scenario. This image probably includes 20 different scenes and it can be very expensive to do. With all the difficulties such as time constraints, shortage of budget and talent deficiency, the need to make the scenes very short yet effective, will arise.  

Fallacy: Forcing learners in scenario path works
Forcing learners in scenario path works. This is a huge fallacy.It should only be a guide because the truth is, “Beng, Beng then Bingo Scenarios” works better. It is easy and affordable to do.

Image 7

Interestingly, the book “Memo from the Story Department” by Christopher Vogler suggests that there is always a part of us that looks for adventure. This means that the innate hero and adventurer in all of us is also the reason why we always want to fix things.  This is because it is fun and exciting. Our brain, likewise, seeks for never-ending trial and error episodes to learn from.

Image 8

The image above shows how most of us work, as represented here in an IT environment. We make several attempts just to make one thing right. If one thing does not work, we don’t give up and try other options until we arrive at the solution.

“Beng, Beng then Bingo Scenarios” – The BBB Process

Listed below is the BBB process:

  1. Show the error
  2. Let learners ask the questions or present questions
  3. Let learners act or test a solution
  4. Provide a hint to a probable solution by asking a question

Here are the easy and affordable micro-scenarios:

  1. Reflections
  2. Experience sharing
  3. Troubleshooting
  4. Provide a hint to a probable solution by asking a question
  5. Discovery 

Take note that these are micro-scenarios. It is more effective to use small scenarios rather than bigger ones because of its low cost yet effectiveness.

#1 Reflection

Image 9

Image 10

Look at both Images 9 and 10. Notice that the two images are not giving the learners the ability to reflect. If we want reflections to happen, the best way is to use Image 10 below.

What can the employee do that could become a huge problem to the manager?

Image 11
Always leave the options open for learners to reflect more and consider what others think as well. Don’t give everything away in one go. The Reflections method works by showing learners an error and by asking them a question.

#2 Experiences Sharing

The processes for this method are the following: 
  1.  Ask the learner to show problems by sharing photos and offer solutions
  2. Ask them how they fixed the problem
  3. Get others to share experiences

Image 12 – Click here for enlarged view. 

Image 12 is an example. Here, learners are asked what troubles they are experiencing while using the product. The common answer is that there is an installation problem.

#3 Trouble-shooting
Below is the process for this technique:

  1. Show the error
  2. How they test the equipment
  3. Provide a hint to a probable solution by asking a question

Image 13

Take a look at Image 13. Learners were able to provide photos of the difficulties they encountered.  The next step is for learners to provide diagnosis and solutions. Then they gather all information to make a summarized one.  

Image 14

Let us take Images 13 and 14 as references and put it in a trouble-shooting scenario. It is best to provide simulation and instructions for learners to be able to try out and look at the errors or troubles, and try to figure out how they can solve the problems themselves.

#4 Discovery

This method’s procedures are as follows:
  1. Show a possible error area
  2. Ask how they observed this same error
  3. Provide a hint to a probable solution by asking a question

Image 15

Image 15 is an example of this process; the possible error is the defects. What was done was, the defects were itemized and then the areas that can go wrong were provided as well. After that, we can ask the learners to identify a small area in operation where the observed defects may possibly happen. 


We often use error to provide an easy, useful, actual and affordable micro-scenario. The idea of “Beng, Beng then Bingo Scenarios” is to use reflections, experience sharing, troubleshooting and the discovery process to make learners respond to a specific scenario. Instead of using a large scenario, small scenarios can be sprinkled within the content to save a lot of money.


Ray Jimenez, PhD

Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”

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