PRACTICING MULTIPLE SKILL ELEMENTS SIMULTANEOUSLY PRODUCES QUICKER LEARNING
Yakut, C., Foss, M. L., Brown, S. H., Aldridge, J. W., Ulrich, D. A., Watkins, B. A., & Worringham, C. J. Effect of sequential versus simultaneous practice on learning a multi-component visual-motor task. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 35(5), Supplement abstract 2236.
"A visual motor task is compatible if movements of control and display are in the same direction otherwise it is incompatible. In position control, a single unidirectional movement will cause a single unidirectional output motion. In velocity control, bi-directional movement is needed to cause a unidirectional output motion on the screen" (p. S400).
This investigation explored the adaptation to two altered task components, compatibility and order of control, in a complex visual motor task. Ss (N = 36) manipulated a cursor onto a target on a monitor as quickly as possible. A joystick directed movements having either position or velocity control order and compatible or incompatible mapping, depending on the test conditions. Four experimental conditions each had three phases, each with 20 blocks of 8 trials. The first phase and the last phase, respectively, required performance of the same task, position control compatible (PC), and velocity control incompatible (VI) tasks for all four groups. The interpolated task in the second phase, requiring another 20 blocks, remained the same, position compatible, for group PC, but was changed to position incompatible for group PI, to velocity compatible for group VC, and to velocity incompatible for group VI.
In velocity control, Ss' hand movements became more repetitive. The cursor was moved first horizontally then vertically toward diagonal targets, rather than straight, as in position control tasks. Significant differences for mean movement time were found between VI versus VC and PI in block 1 and VI versus VC in blocks 2 and 3. Learning was faster when the two task factors were changed simultaneously rather than sequentially.
Implication Practicing each component appears to require more training time than when factors are practiced together. This implies that training on multiple items will shorten learning time.
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