Practicing In a Timely Manner Helps to Acquire a Skill Quicker, Study


The quote 'Practice makes perfect' now needs to be revised after a University of Sheffield study claimed that a 'blind' practice session does not help individuals to master a form of art, instrument, or even a course.

Researchers said that people who practice their work more methodically (timely manner) and efficiently (observing a task) perform better than those who just blindly follow the instructions without learning from their mistakes.

For the study, Sheffield researchers and Michael Dewar from The New York Times Research and Development Lab observed 854,064 participants while playing an online game Axon. The game tests a participant's perception and decision-making skills. Through this game the researchers wanted to know how practice affects performance.

The researchers found that some of the participants scored higher than others even though all of them had practiced for the same duration of time. Players who scored better were seen to practice the game in timely intervals and also spent some time in initially observing the intricacies of the game prior to actually playing the game.

 "The study suggests that learning can be improved - you can learn more efficiently or use the same practice time to learn to a higher level. As we live longer, and as more of our lives become based around acquiring complex skills, optimal learning becomes increasingly relevant to everyone," psychological scientist Dr Tom Stafford said in a press release.

Stafford said that practicing in a right way is as important as how many times a person has practiced to be able to learn a task quickly.

"This kind of data affords us to look in an unprecedented way at the shape of the learning curve, allowing us to explore how the way we practice helps or hinders learning," says Stafford.

The finding has been published in Psychological Science.

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