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What is learning by trial and error?

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Learning by trial and error, also referred to as trial-and-error learning, is an approach to learning in which one learns by trying different actions or strategies to achieve a particular goal. It involves trying different options and making mistakes to eventually find the right answer or solution.

In this process, it is often necessary to make several attempts to understand what works and what does not. If an action or strategy is not successful, it is abandoned and a new one is tried. This iterative method gradually increases knowledge and experience and increases the success rate.

Behind the principle of learning by trial and error is a simple basic idea: humans and animals learn from experience and thus from their mistakes. The principle can be well illustrated by children who are just learning to walk. They never tire of trying, fall down, get up again and start all over again. What seems pointless at first glance is, at second glance, the “trial and error” method of learning. With each new attempt (trial), we try out what might work. If it doesn’t work, it is stored as an error and discarded. Without thinking, the next attempt is made with a new alternative. This method is like a slowly increasing learning curve that eventually leads to the goal.

Trial-and-error learning is useful when there is no clear solution or strategy and when feedback on an action is delayed. It is an effective method for solving complex problems and learning new skills.

However, the trial-and-error method is not suitable for every situation in life. If you need to retrieve performance and knowledge spontaneously, such as for an exam, good preparation is recommended instead of time-consuming trial-and-error.