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Glossary » learned helplessness

learned helplessness

when a person has repeated experiences of failure at a task or skill and learns to assume that they aren’t capable, when in fact they may simply need to be taught from a different point of view or to break the problem down into smaller, achievable subcomponents. In user interface design, this problem is encountered when someone is overwhelmed by complex interfaces, and a simplified interface or improved training procedure is called for.