Practice schedule and testing per se affect children's transfer abilities in a grapho-motor task

Rafat Ghanamah, Hazar Eghbaria-Ghanamah, Avi Karni, Esther Adi-Japha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Children's ability to transfer the gains of a motor experience, such as learning to write a letter, to novel conditions, such as cursive writing of the same letter, are affected by the way in which the learning experience is parsed. Parsing may have limitations because a short session may hamper the engagement of procedural memory consolidation processes. Here, we compared the effects of two practice schedules with the total amount of practice identical training provided in a single-session practice versus multi-session practice, wherein each session on its own was insufficient for generating long-term gains. A total of 40 7- and 8-year-old children practiced the production of a novel letter form by connecting dots, namely, the Invented Letter Task (ILT). Multiple ILT-related transfer tasks were assessed at 24 h post-training and again at 4–5 weeks post-training. Although by the end of training the single-session practice group outperformed the multi-session practice group in speed and accuracy, at 24 h post-training both groups showed comparable gains. However, after multi-session practice, children were as fast or faster and more accurate in the transfer tasks. By 4–5 weeks post-training, the multi-session practice group showed larger gains in the trained condition, a speed advantage in the transfer tasks, and a significant improvement on the transfer tasks. The results suggest that parsing training over several brief sessions may lead to long-term gains in children's grapho-motor skills. Moreover, multi-session practice protocols may contribute to the potential for transfer and to more effective learning from experiences such as transfer tasks.

Original languageEnglish
Article number105323
JournalJournal of Experimental Child Psychology
Volume215
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.

Keywords

  • Grapho-motor task
  • Learning
  • Multi-session practice
  • Practice
  • Single-session practice
  • Transfer

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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