Short Bytes: According to a new research, the key to learning a new motor skill is not dependent on the number of hours you practice but how you practice. Motor skills involve playing the piano, joining for some sort of training or mastering a new sport. Scientists have found that training time can be reduced by introducing more variation in the learning process.
[size=18]However, this research theory is somewhat against the old assumption that repeating a motor skill over and over again is the key to learning a new skill.
“What we found is if you practise a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practising the exact same thing multiple times in a row,”
— said lead researcher Pablo Celnik, from Johns Hopkins University.
The research outcome was obtained on 86 volunteers who were monitored closely while learning a new skill. The new learning skill was moving a cursor on a computer screen by squeezing a small device, instead of using a mouse.
The volunteers were split into three groups. Each group was given 45 minutes to practice the skill. Six hours later, one of the three groups was asked to repeat the same training exercise again, while another group was asked to perform a slightly different version that required different squeezing force to move the cursor.
At the end of the training session, everyone was tested on how accurately they could perform the new skill. But the surprise was that the group that had repeated the original training session actually did worse on the test compared to those who had mixed things up and trained in new areas.
This whole phenomenon is called reconsolidation. Reconsolidation is a process which recalls the existing memories are modified with new knowledge. It’s long been suggested that reconsolidation could help to strengthen motor skills, but this is one of the first experiments to test that hypothesis.[/size]