Decay, Transfer, and the Reacquisition of a Complex Skill: An Investigation of Practice Schedules, Observational Rehearsal, and Individual Differences
Final rept. 15 Sep 2004-30 Dec 2007
APTIMA INC WOBURN MA
Pagination or Media Count:
This study fills a void in the literature on skill decay by incorporating a cognitively complex task and an extended nonuse period. Using 192 paid participants who trained for approximately 17 hours on a command-and-control microworld simulation, we examined the effectiveness of distributed versus massed practice and post-acquisition observational rehearsal in minimizing skill decay and facilitating adaptive transfer and reacquisition after an 8-week nonuse period. We also examined how individual differences in ability and motivation predicted retention, transfer, and reacquisition as well as participation in voluntary post-acquisition observational rehearsal. Results showed that distributed practice had a positive effect on skill retention and post-observational rehearsal had a positive effect on transfer. Although some individual differences e.g., self-efficacy were consistently associated with retention, transfer, and reacquisition, overall levels of prediction were relatively weak, especially for transfer. Differences in motivation rather than ability differentiated individuals who participated in voluntary rehearsal from those who did not.
- Military Forces and Organizations