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Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research 6/2021

03-08-2020 | Original Article

How do task characteristics affect learning and performance? The roles of simultaneous, interactive, and continuous tasks

Auteurs: David J. Frank, Brooke N. Macnamara

Gepubliceerd in: Psychological Research | Uitgave 6/2021

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Abstract

Why are some tasks more difficult to learn than others? Hoffman et al. (Accelerated expertise: training for high proficiency in a complex world. Psychology Press, New York, 2014) hypothesized that certain task characteristics—termed “dimensions of difficulty”—hindered learning and performance. Previously, we tested two dimensions: consistent vs. variably mapped and static vs. dynamic. Here, we test three more dimensions of difficulty: sequential vs. simultaneous, discrete vs. continuous, and separable vs. interactive. In each study, we manipulate a single task feature (dimension of difficulty) while holding all others constant. Tasks with continuous (rather than discrete) features slowed participants’ performance but did not impair learning. Learning and performance were unimpaired in tasks with interactive (rather than largely separable) processes. By contrast, we found strong evidence that simultaneous tasks (i.e., those that demand multitasking) inhibit learning, slow performance, and increase task errors. Importantly, this occurred in the absence of perceptual and mechanical bottlenecks present in most other studies of multitasking. We also are the first to examine simultaneity on learning a new task while controlling for other dimensions of difficulty. We discuss the potential impact of these results on current theory and application to real-world domains.
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1
Hoffman et al. (2014) based these dimension on research by Feltovich, Spiro, and Coulson (1989, 1993); see also Dawson-Saunders, Feltovich, Coulson, and Steward, (1990), who interviewed medical school instructors and asked them to identify and describe which tasks medical student learned with the least and most difficulty.
 
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Metagegevens
Titel
How do task characteristics affect learning and performance? The roles of simultaneous, interactive, and continuous tasks
Auteurs
David J. Frank
Brooke N. Macnamara
Publicatiedatum
03-08-2020
Uitgeverij
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Gepubliceerd in
Psychological Research / Uitgave 6/2021
Print ISSN: 0340-0727
Elektronisch ISSN: 1430-2772
DOI
https://doi.org/10.1007/s00426-020-01394-1