The research, led by psychological scientist Tom Stafford of the University of Sheffield (UK), suggests that the way you practice is just as important as how often you practice when it comes to learning quickly.
The new findings are published in Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science.
Stafford and Michael Dewar from The New York Times Research and Development Lab analyzed data from 854,064 people playing an online game called Axon. Players are tasked with guiding a neuron from connection to connection by clicking on potential targets, testing participants' ability to perceive, make decisions, and move quickly.
Stafford and Dewar were interested to know how practice affected players' subsequent performance in the game.
Some Axon players achieved higher scores than others despite practicing for the same amount of time. Game play data revealed that those players who seemed to learn more quickly had either spaced out their practice or had more variable early performance — suggesting they were exploring how the game works — before going on to perform better.
"The study suggests that learning can be improved — you can learn more efficiently or use the same practice time to learn to a higher level," says Stafford. "As we live longer, and as more of our lives become based around acquiring complex skills, optimal learning becomes increasingly relevant to everyone."
Using data collected from people playing games offers a new way for researchers to study learning, and has strong advantages compared to research on learning that is based in the lab. Game data provide insight into a real skill that people presumably enjoy practicing, and detailed data regarding all actions that players take as they learn to play are easily recorded.
"This kind of data affords us to look in an unprecedented way at the shape of the learning curve, allowing us to explore how the way we practice helps or hinders learning," says Stafford.
Stafford hopes to collaborate with game designers to further investigate the factors that shape optimal learning.
For more information about this study, please contact: Tom Stafford at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The article abstract is available online: http://pss.sagepub.com/content/early/2013/12/30/0956797613511466.abstract
Axon was developed for the Wellcome Trust by game designer Preloaded. The game can be played http://axon.wellcomeapps.com/. Researchers inserted a tracking code that recorded machine identity each time the game was loaded and kept track of the score and the date and time of play. No information on the players, other than their game scores, was collected.
Stafford and Dewar have made their data and analysis code publicly available for anyone who wishes to replicate or conduct their own analyses.
The APS journal Psychological Science is the highest ranked empirical journal in psychology. For a copy of the article "Tracing the Trajectory of Skill Learning With a Very Large Sample of Online Game Players" and access to other Psychological Science research findings, please contact Anna Mikulak at 202-293-9300 or email@example.com.
Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
New Master’s programme: University of Kaiserslautern educates experts in quantum technology
15.03.2017 | Technische Universität Kaiserslautern
Decision-making research in children: Rules of thumb are learned with time
19.10.2016 | Max-Planck-Institut für Bildungsforschung
Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.
The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.
Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...
Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.
Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...
In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.
Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.
Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...
20.03.2017 | Event News
14.03.2017 | Event News
07.03.2017 | Event News
24.03.2017 | Materials Sciences
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
24.03.2017 | Physics and Astronomy