New Conceptualizations of Practice: Common Principles in Three Paradigms Suggest New Concepts for Training

Author: Richard Schmidt, Robert Bjork

Year: 1992

Paper Description

Most training programs focus on helping people learn new skills as quickly as possible. However, research shows that this is not the best way to learn. In fact, it is often better to learn new skills slowly and gradually. This is because it allows people to develop a deeper understanding of the skill and to learn how to apply it to different situations.

Key Takeaway 1

It’s not always best to give people as much feedback as possible. Sometimes, it’s better to give people less feedback, even if it means that they don’t do as well during the training/learning episode.

Key Takeaway 2

Varied practice leads to greater long-term performance than identical practice.

Standout Quote

“The criterial version of many tasks…involves the execution of an essentially novel response that cannot have been practiced previously…and a form of variable practice would be recommended.”


memory, retrieval practice, cognitive science, brain, learning, remembering, knowledge, maintenance, thinking, forgetting, disuse, recognition, context, cognitive psychology, encoding, desirable difficulties, transfer, variation, variable, spaced