The Marshmallow Challenge

The Marshmallow Challenge: What Is It and Why Do We Do It?

Whether it is at school, university or in the workplace, the Marshmallow Challenge is often tasked and learners are split into random groups.

The Marshmallow Challenge

The materials provided to groups are simple; 20 sticks of spaghetti, 1 metre of tape, 1 metre of string and 1 marshmallow. And the task, to build a sturdy, freestanding structure with the marshmallow on top, in 18 minutes.

The major purpose of the challenge is to exercise team collaboration. We learn to work in teams as soon as we begin pre-school highlighting just how important it is. No matter where we are in the course of our lives, teamwork is a prevalent skill we must embrace.

The Marshmallow Challenge is an instructive design exercise which tests this ability within us as we are faced with a challenge without a concrete method. Our success is determined by the extent of collaboration and the execution of our teamwork skills.

The Marshmallow Challenge Results

The Best Performer: Kindergarten Children

Kindy kids build trial and error prototypes, starting with the marshmallow until they find a successful solution. The marshmallow is kept up the top for the entirety of the challenge, with the structure coming after.

The Poor Performer: Recent University Graduates

It is a common misconception amongst recent graduates that there is one correct solution. Time is focused on finding the one specific plan that is actually nonexistent. Teams are often running out of time or the masterpiece collapses after the marshmallow is stuck on the top. We’ve all been there.

What Can We Take Away From the Marshmallow Challenge?

1. Collaborate

Collaboration is enabled in modern learning strategies, as learners are able to measure their progress against others through the use of gamification in mobile learning. Collaboration is important in achieving corporate objectives, as well as minimising workplace conflicts.

2. Prototype

Prototyping is important for experimental learning and facilitates teams to work together simultaneously. This is enabled by LMS using cloud-based delivery systems, like EdApp. This system allows content authors to edit or update information which is then instantly available for learners. EdApp provides a vast library of ready-made templates, meaning you will not have to spend extra money on coding.

3. Iterate

With leading LMS, building courses is made easy whereby templates are easily accessible and can be kept track of. EdApp’s new template library allows users to ‘star’ templates into a favorites/ recently used folder. This is extremely time-saving and is even more of a worthwhile investment.

4. Keep information central

Keeping all relevant information central is pivotal in the functionality and dynamism of teams. When teams are well-informed of the happenings and perspectives around them, a more holistic approach is taken to achieve objectives. Good authoring tools allow learners to store and manage all pieces of material in one place.

The lesson: experimentation, prototyping, and iterating are essential to team success.


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