The effects of two different distributions of practice on the learning and retention of a novel skill

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Susan W. Noble (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
Web Site:
Marie Riley

Abstract: An examination of the literature on the effects of practice distribution on the learning and retention of motor skills reveals contradictory and inconclusive results. The purpose of this study was to determine the effects of two different practice distributions on the learning and retention of a novel motor skill. A pilot study was conducted prior to the experiment in order to develop the scoring device and to determine the practice procedure. The subjects for the experiment were college women in the required physical education program at Sweet Briar College. Throwing a ball with a lacrosse stick at a swinging target was selected as being a skill resembling skills taught in physical education classes while still being completely novel to the subjects. Subjects were divided into two groups of twenty-five each by drawing assignments. Each subject had three practice sessions and a retention test twenty-eight days following their third practice. All subjects had a period of instruction in the skill prior to the first practice. Subjects in Group A practiced thirty continuous trials in each session and in the retention test. Subjects in Group B practiced thirty trials with a three-minute rest interval after the tenth and twentieth trials for all three practices and for the retention test. Each trial for both groups consisted of starting behind a line twenty-four feet from the target, running forward, and throwing the ball at a swinging target before crossing a restraining line twelve feet from the target.

Additional Information

Language: English
Date: 1972

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