Date of Award

5-2010

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Exercise and Sport Sciences

Major Professor

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

Committee Members

Clare E. Milner, Craig A. Wrisberg, Daniela M. Corbetta

Abstract

In their challenge-point framework (CPF) Guadagnoli and Lee’s (2004) argue that learning is maximized when a person faces an optimal level of challenge during practice. It is suggested that challenge level can be manipulated through the combination of different practice variables. The purpose of this study was to investigate how practice schedule and self-controlled feedback frequency manipulations affect performance and learning of motor skills. Participants (n=96) attempted to learn three versions of a key-pressing task. The task consisted of pressing five computer keys in specified sequences in a goal criterion time. Participants were assigned to either a blocked practice schedule with self-controlled feedback (BLK-SC), a random practice schedule with self-controlled feedback (RND-SC), a blocked practice schedule with yoked feedback (BLK-YK), a random practice schedule with yoked feedback (RND-YK), a blocked practice schedule and 100 percent feedback (BLK-100), or a random practice schedule with 100 percent feedback (RND-100). Participants in the blocked conditions practiced 30 trials of each task according to a blocked practice schedule. Participants in the random conditions practiced 30 trial of each task according to a random practice schedule. Participants in the self-controlled feedback condition were allowed to choose whether or not to receive feedback on each trial. Yoked participants had their feedback schedule matched to a participant with similar characteristics in the self-control condition. Participants in the 100% feedback condition received feedback after every trial. Participants were also asked to complete the NASA Task Load Index (Hart & Staveland, 1988) and an adapted Perceived Competence for Learning scale (adapted from Williams & Deci, 1996) after the completion of the 5th and 90th trial. After 24 hr participants performed a retention test. The results indicated no difference between groups during retention or for the NASA-TLX and PCL scores. The feedback frequency analysis indicated no differences between BLK-SC and RND-SC groups. In general, the findings of the present study show that the effects of practice schedule conditions can be offset by self-controlled feedback manipulations. They also suggest that a number of different combinations of practice schedules and feedback frequencies can lead to similar challenge levels.

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