Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Self-Regulated Frequency of Augmented Information in Skill Learning

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Experimental Psychology

Self-Regulated Frequency of Augmented Information in Skill Learning

Article excerpt

The authors examined the effects of self-regulating task information, identical in content, either before (proactive) or after (retroactive) a motor action. Participants were required to learn unique typographical script used to enter data into a personal data assistant. Consistent with previous findings, presenting task information proactively during acquisition facilitated performance, but presenting task information retroactively resulted in superior learning as measured in retention tests. However, those who self-regulated proactive task information demonstrated learning that was equivalent to those who received retroactive task information. These results suggest that when task information is equated, the learning benefits associated with self-regulation are independent of the timing of when the augmented information is made available during practise.

Keywords: learning, self-regulation, practice, human-computer interaction

The research question addressed here concerns the problem of how to structure practise in order to acquire a novel typographical language. This research shares a similarity to other work in cognitive psychology in which word cues are associated with specific targets to be learned. However, unlike second language and paired-associate learning studies (e.g., DeGroot & Keijzer, 2000; Schneider, Healy, & Bourne, 2002), our research emphasises a critical effector component - such as the formation of hand shapes in learning American Sign Language (Richardson & Lee, 1999) or the production of keystrokes in the learning of Graffiti language, which enables the user to enter characters into a personal data assistant or PDA (Patterson & Lee, 2005, 2008). The effector component requires the translation of declarative information, residing in memory, into motor output. Previous research suggests the process involved in memory search and retrieval determines how well the effector component is learned and retained following a practise session (Patterson & Lee, 2005, 2008; Richardson & Lee, 1999).

Previously, we examined the critical role of the timing of when augmented information was provided to the learner - either prior to (proactively) or immediately after (retroactively) the effector response to a character cue referent. For example, in the proactive condition, participants were provided with a cued Graffiti language character (e.g., an opening quotation mark) together with a visual representation of the effector target response (a tap, followed by the production of an "N-shaped" character). Following the presentation of this cue plus target information, the participants attempted to produce the target output. Of critical importance in this paradigm was the fact that the relevant declarative information used to guide a correct effector response resided in primary memory at the time that the response was made. However, in the retroactive condition, only the cued character was provided to the learner prior to their attempted motor output - the target information of the required effector response was withheld until after the participant completed the effector response. Because the declarative information necessary to produce the correct response was not available in primary memory, a search and (if successful) retrieval from secondary memory was required to produce an effector response. Acquisition performance was very high (near ceiling levels) for the proactive conditions and relatively poor for the retroactive conditions (Patterson & Lee, 2005; Richardson & Lee, 1999). However, these findings were reversed in cued-retention tests that followed after several minutes or days later. In these retention tests, more successful performance occurred following retroactive practise than after proactive practise (Patterson & Lee, 2005, 2008; Richardson & Lee, 1999).

We use the terms primary and secondary memory (after James, 1 890) because they infer different types of processes for performing the effector responses (Wickens, Moody, & Dow, 1981). …

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