Skill acquisition: History, questions, and theories
This chapter presents the history of research into skill acquisition, and reviews the key questions and theories that have framed this research. Issues include the existence of plateaus in learning curves, the effects of part versus whole task training and massed versus distributed practice, knowledge of results, the form of learning curves and their mathematical description, the power law of practice, transfer of training, and phases of skill acquisition. Theories reviewed are divided up into those that propose that skill acquisition proceeds through a process of strategy refinement (e.g., the theories of Crossman, Anderson (ACT-R), Newell et al. (SOAR), and MacKay, as well as some connectionist theories) as opposed to those that propose that skilled performance results from improved memory retrieval (e.g., the theories of Logan (Instance theory) and Palmeri (EBRW)). The theories are evaluated in terms of their ability to provide accounts versus explanations of the power law of practice.
Keywords: plateaus in learning curves, part task training, whole task training, massed practice, distributed practice, knowledge of results, power law of practice, transfer of training, skill acquisition phases, ACT-R
Oxford Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.