The effects of massed practice and distributed practice on learning Essay

essay B
  • Words: 1172
  • Category: Database

  • Pages: 5

Get Full Essay

Get access to this section to get all the help you need with your essay and educational goals.

Get Access

Massed practice is generally defined as practice that occurs without rest between trials (Burdick, 1977).

Schmidt (1991) defines massed practice more loosely as, “a practice schedule in which the amount of rest between trials is short relative to the trial length. ” Moreover, Wek and Husak (1989) believe that massed practice can have small breaks or “pauses” during the practice. They write: The classical definition of massed practice is continuous practice with few or no pauses for rest even of short duration relative to the work interval.However, Schmidt (1991) discusses the concept of rest during massed practice.

He states that massed practice can have small amounts of rest; yet, it only provides “relatively little rest between trials. ” The common and accepted definition of distributed practice is “practice interspersed with rest or other skill learning” (Burdick, 1977). Another definition of distributed practice is “a practice schedule in which the amount of rest between practice trials is long relative to the trial length” (Schmidt, 1991). More and more is talking about this topic.The experiment shows the effect of massed practice and distributed practice on learning.

The experiment is examining in which among massed practice and distributed practice is more applicable in learning. This experiment shows the difference of the participants of massed practice and distributed practice. Knowing how extraneous variables affect the distributed practice’s participants’ performance. The massed practice and the distributed practice affects the learning of an individual. The main highlight of this experiment is to know the effect of massed practice and distributed practice on learning.

The objective of this experiment is to determine the effect of massed practice and distributed practice on learning who participated in this experiment. The result of the experiment after it is conducted is that the Null Hypothesis is accepted that there is no significant difference between the performance of the participants of massed practice and the participants in distributed practice. In the field of psychology, the spacing effect is the phenomenon whereby animals (including humans) more easily remember or learn items when they are studied a few times spaced over a long time span (“spaced resentation”) rather than repeatedly studied in a short span of time (“massed presentation”).Practically, this effect suggests that “cramming” (intense, last-minute studying) the night before an exam is not likely to be as effective as studying at intervals in a longer time frame. Important to note, however, is that the benefit of spaced presentations does not appear at short retention intervals, in which massed presentations tend to lead to better memory performance. The phenomenon was first identified by Hermann Ebbinghaus, and his detailed study of it was published in the 1885 book Uber das Gedachtnis.

Untersuchungen zur experimentellen Psychologie (Memory: A Contribution to Experimental Psychology). This robust finding has been supported by studies of many explicit memory tasks such as free recall, recognition, cued-recall, and frequency estimation (Crowder 1976; Greene, 1989). Researchers have offered several possible explanations of the spacing effect, and much research has been conducted that supports its impact on recall. In spite of these findings, the robustness of this phenomenon and its resistance to experimental manipulation has made empirical testing of its parameters difficult.The serial position effect, a term coined by Hermann Ebbinghaus through studies he performed on himself, refers to the finding that recall accuracy varies as a function of an item’s position within a study list.

When asked to recall a list of items in any order (free recall), people tend to begin recall with the end of the list, recalling those items best (the recency effect). Among earlier list items, the first few items are recalled more frequently than the middle items (the primacy effect).One suggested reason for the primacy effect is that the initial items presented are most effectively stored in long-term memory because of the greater amount of processing devoted to them. (The first list item can be rehearsed by itself; the second must be rehearsed along with the first, the third along with the first and second, and so on. ) The primacy effect is reduced when items are presented quickly and is enhanced when presented slowly (factors that reduce and enhance processing of each item and thus permanent storage).

Longer presentation lists have been found to reduce the primacy effect.One theorized reason for the recency effect is that these items are still present in working memory when recall is solicited. Items that benefit from neither (the middle items) are recalled most poorly. An additional explanation for the recency effect is related to temporal context: if tested immediately after rehearsal, the current temporal context can serve as a retrieval cue, which would predict more recent items to have a higher likelihood of recall than items that were studied in a different temporal context (earlier in the list).

The recency effect is reduced when an interfering task is given. Intervening tasks involve working memory, as the distractor activity, if exceeding 15 to 30 seconds in duration, can cancel out the recency effect. Additionally, if recall comes immediately after test, the recency effect is consistent regardless of the length of the studied list, or presentation rate. Amnesiacs with poor ability to form permanent long-term memories do not show a primacy effect, but do show a recency effect if recall comes immediately after study.

People with Alzheimer’s Disease exhibit a reduced primacy effect but do not produce a recency effect in recall. Multiple psychological functions are responsible for the beneficial effects of distributed practice. The most prevalent of these are procedural learning, priming effects, and expanding retrieval. Procedural learning Procedural Learning is the act of repeating a complex activity over and over again, until all of the relevant neural systems work together to automatically produce the activity.Distributed practice is the most efficient method of procedural learning.

By equally distributing the amount of practice of a given activity over a period of time, you will increase the efficiency of learning that skill. Priming Priming is an effect where an initial (often brief) exposure to a stimulus influences its subsequent recall or perception. This effect is most notable when dealing with semantic knowledge, but is also applicable to the acquisition of general skills.With regards to distributed practice, increasing the amount of practice when learning will result in an increased priming effect for subsequent practice sessions. This causes an increase in memory recall, which is equivalent to an increase in learning. This helps explain why equally distributing your practice sessions, rather than massing them into one session, allows for greater learning.

Expanding Rehearsal Expanding rehearsal refers to a learning schedule wherein items are initially ested after a short delay, with pre-test delay gradually increasing across subsequent trials.This phenomenon relies on the strength of the consolidated memory in order to efficiently increase success and learning. Memories that were poorly consolidated through inefficient means of practice will be harder to recall, and will reduce the learning achieved through expanding retrieval. Distributed practice directly influences the efficiency of expanding recall, as it provides the strongest basis for memory consolidation, from which to draw needed information.

Get instant access to
all materials

Become a Member
unlock