Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Guidance Hypothesis

There has been a lot of research looking at the effect that extrinsic feedback and excessive extrinsic feedback has on learning. Salmoni et al (1984) suggested the guidance hypothesis. This hypothesis suggests that even though recurrent feedback provided during practice is beneficial to the learner in order to choose the correct responses, it blocks the processing of other sources of important information that are essential in order to obtain an internal depiction of the movement task that is capable of generating the movement when the feedback is stopped. Faded schedule feedback was a type of feedback tested to see if this would reduce participant dependency on extrinsic feedback. Winstein et al (1990) performed a study which contained two groups. One group received extrinsic feedback for every trial, while the other group used a faded feedback schedule and had a reduced frequency of feedback (50% of the trials). The results showed that the faded feedback group were able to sustain performance during practice at the same level as the group who had feedback on every trial. However when no feedback tests were administered on both groups after 5 minutes and 24 hours, the faded feedback group performed significantly better. By using the faded feedback schedule, participants were able to reduce their dependency on the feedback which enhanced their capability to create the necessary movement pattern when the feedback was taken away. Other researchers have also performed experiments which have shown the beneficial effects that faded feedback can have (e.g. Lee et al 1990, Weeks et al 1993).

The guidance hypothesis therefore suggests that the faded feedback schedule should cause the participant to process other sources of intrinsic information that assists the progression of an internal depiction which is capable of supporting performance when feedback is taken away. If this hypothesis is true, participants should be able to decrease the time that is needed to develop an internal depiction of the task, from days to just minutes. This suggests a faster way of learning.

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