Print Сite this

Questions and Failure in Learning

Topical and Overarching Questions

Topical questions are unit-specific questions. They tend to direct the understanding of processes and thoughts inside a certain unit. An example of topical question is: “How do plants carry out photosynthesis?”. It can be seen that the topical question is a science-specific one.

We will write a
custom essay
specifically for you

for only $16.05 $11/page
308 certified writers online
Learn More

Wiggins and McTighe (2005) described overarching questions as wide and open-ended questions that basically do not require direct or definite answers. An example of overarching question is: “What does a great book mean?”. It can be seen from the example that overarching questions may go beyond a particular study unit into a broader idea or scope.

The association between both questions is that topical questions tend to be relatively specific to the topic under study, however, they should be knotted to overarching questions which address wider ideas and thoughts within a field of study (Wiggins & McTighe, 2005). Both questions possess certain differences. Topical questions are unit-specific while overarching questions may exceed the unit under study. Topical questions are mostly intended to yield particular topical apprehension inside a specific unit while overarching questions may be used to yield one or more apprehensions within or outside a unit.

Intent and scope are related in the formation as well as the use of essential questions. Topical questions are important for effective understanding of the unit under study. According to Wiggins and McTighe (2005), using overarching questions alone cannot provide a link to the main course curriculum and may lead to worthless discussion or make the learning demoralizing for students. Also, in order to make learning worthwhile and straightforward, it is necessary for topical questions to be equally followed by overarching questions.

Learning from Failure

Learning theories may be described as theoretical frameworks that depict the processes of learning (Storey & Barnett, 2000). It basically shows how information is received, processed, and held in the course of learning. The process of learning collectively involves emotional, mental and environmental factors and experiences for obtaining, improving or altering an individual’s perception, skills, opinions and values (Storey & Barnett, 2000). Learning theories are divided into several categories and sub-categories which include the theory of trial-and-error, which could otherwise be referred to as “learning from failure” (Storey & Barnett, 2000).

Several theories of learning have proved effective in the acquisition of knowledge, information and experience. This includes learning from failure. Several thinkers have given instances where failure has formed the basic step for knowledge acquisition as well as successful outcomes, result and growth. Many groundbreaking innovations were made possible by picking corrections from irregular but remarkable and great failures (Storey & Barnett, 2000).

Personally, I tend to retain knowledge more when I get a concept corrected after several mistakes or unsuccessful attempts. For instance, I was working on a practical assignment which I iteratively missed the steps in getting the expected result. The solution to the assignment was later given in class, and until today the concept of the assignment has remained vivid and fresh in my mind even though several years have passed.

Get your
100% original paper
on any topic

done in as little as
3 hours
Learn More

Hence, an assessment strategy that would facilitate better understanding and ensure retentiveness is the one that would engage students; it must be designed in such a way that there will be room for possible mistakes. Students will then be able to learn from their mistakes when the solution is given. This way, the “mistakes” will be used as a strong tool in teaching and learning.


Storey, J. & Barnett, E. (2000). Knowledge management initiatives: Learning from failure. Journal of Knowledge Management, 4(2), 145 – 15.6.

Wiggins, G. & McTighe, J. (2005). Understanding by design (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill Prentice Hall.

Cite this paper

Select style


StudyCorgi. (2021, February 5). Questions and Failure in Learning. Retrieved from


StudyCorgi. (2021, February 5). Questions and Failure in Learning.

Work Cited

"Questions and Failure in Learning." StudyCorgi, 5 Feb. 2021,

1. StudyCorgi. "Questions and Failure in Learning." February 5, 2021.


StudyCorgi. "Questions and Failure in Learning." February 5, 2021.


StudyCorgi. 2021. "Questions and Failure in Learning." February 5, 2021.


StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Questions and Failure in Learning'. 5 February.

This paper was written and submitted to our database by a student to assist your with your own studies. You are free to use it to write your own assignment, however you must reference it properly.

If you are the original creator of this paper and no longer wish to have it published on StudyCorgi, request the removal.