Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

How you practice matters for learning a skill quickly

07.01.2014
Practice alone doesn't make perfect, but learning can be optimized if you practice in the right way, according to new research based on online gaming data from more than 850,000 people.

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 t.stafford@shef.ac.uk.

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 amikulak@psychologicalscience.org.

Anna Mikulak | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.psychologicalscience.org

More articles from Science Education:

nachricht A Finger on the Pulse of Innovation – Worldwide
09.12.2015 | Siemens AG

nachricht Discovering Customers’ Hidden Needs
15.07.2015 | Siemens AG

All articles from Science Education >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Tiny microbots that can clean up water

Researchers from the Max Planck Institute Stuttgart have developed self-propelled tiny ‘microbots’ that can remove lead or organic pollution from contaminated water.

Working with colleagues in Barcelona and Singapore, Samuel Sánchez’s group used graphene oxide to make their microscale motors, which are able to adsorb lead...

Im Focus: ORNL researchers discover new state of water molecule

Neutron scattering and computational modeling have revealed unique and unexpected behavior of water molecules under extreme confinement that is unmatched by any known gas, liquid or solid states.

In a paper published in Physical Review Letters, researchers at the Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory describe a new tunneling state of...

Im Focus: Bionic Lightweight Design researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute at Hannover Messe 2016

Honeycomb structures as the basic building block for industrial applications presented using holo pyramid

Researchers of the Alfred Wegener Institute (AWI) will introduce their latest developments in the field of bionic lightweight design at Hannover Messe from 25...

Im Focus: New world record for fullerene-free polymer solar cells

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS). This work is about avoiding costly and unstable fullerenes.

Polymer solar cells can be even cheaper and more reliable thanks to a breakthrough by scientists at Linköping University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin glass is up and coming

As one of the leading R&D partners in the development of surface technologies and organic electronics, the Fraunhofer Institute for Organic Electronics, Electron Beam and Plasma Technology FEP will be exhibiting its recent achievements in vacuum coating of ultra-thin glass at SVC TechCon 2016 (Booth 846), taking place in Indianapolis / USA from May 9 – 13.

Fraunhofer FEP is an experienced partner for technological developments, known for testing the limits of new materials and for optimization of those materials...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

The “AC21 International Forum 2016” is About to Begin

27.04.2016 | Event News

Soft switching combines efficiency and improved electro-magnetic compatibility

15.04.2016 | Event News

Grid-Supportive Buildings Give Boost to Renewable Energy Integration

12.04.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

Winds a quarter the speed of light spotted leaving mysterious binary systems

29.04.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Fiber optic biosensor-integrated microfluidic chip to detect glucose levels

29.04.2016 | Health and Medicine

A cell senses its own curves: New research from the MBL Whitman Center

29.04.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>