Leaning through trial & error refers to the course of such learning that is characterized by gradual elimination of ineffectual responses and the strengthening of those responses that are satisfactory. Thorndike believes this process a central to the acquisition of all complex acts of learning. We exemplify the concept of learning by
trial & error. Suppose, it is darkness all sides at night. You have to unlock a lock. You do not know the relevant key to unlock the lock. You try all the keys of key-ring one by one. At last, the lock unlocks with one key. This process of unlocking will be termed as ‘learning by trial & error’. Making efforts to write alphabets on the slate and afterwards write correct words, completing of pictures and words with the help
of various blocks, and solving question of mathematics after committing several mistakes are the general other examples of learning by trial & error. Learning by trial error is a significant mode of learning which has developed many theories and has contributed much to the human academic assets. Following are the necessary steps involved in the learning by trial & error :
- Facing the problem : The individual encounters a problem which disturbs his/her internal balance or external settings.
- Identifying the problem : The individual gets aware of the problem which negatively affects his/her being.
- Attempting to solve the problem : The individual strives for the solution of the identified problem in a random way.
- Encountering sudden success : The individual comes across a sudden success following many random attempts for the solution of the problem.
- Repeating the solution in case of success : The individual repeats the successful attempts and eliminates all other unproductive attempts from the activity.
- Exercising the solution : the individual exercises the successful solution in order to get expertise of the solution.
- Finding the appropriate solution : the individual finds the appropriate solution to the problem and relates it to his/her daily life affairs.