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.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© 2021 Elsevier Inc.
- Grapho-motor task
- Multi-session practice
- Single-session practice
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
- Developmental and Educational Psychology