The interaction of observational learning with overt practice: Effects on motor skill learning

Document Type


Publication Date



This study explored various methods of combining observational learning via demonstration with the effects of overt practice for learning a discrete action pattern. Three groups were compared that varied by the timing of demonstration in relation to practice. An all-pre-practice demonstration group viewed 10 pre-practice videotape demonstrations of an expert performing the skill, and then engaged in practice. An interspersed demonstration group viewed one pre-practice demonstration, then initiated practice on the skill. Every three attempts, practice was halted while participants viewed another demonstration, with this pattern repeated throughout acquisition. A combination demonstration group experienced elements of each schedule by viewing five demonstrations prior to practice, then five more once practice had begun (one every three attempts) so that modeling was completed by mid-acquisition. Ratings of form and accuracy were assessed in an acquisition phase, an immediate retention test, and a 48-h retention test. Group main effects for form scores were detected in acquisition, immediate, and 48-h retention, with the combination group obtaining the highest form scores, followed by the all-pre-practice group, and finally the interspersed group. These findings suggest that several modeling exposures before practice and several more exposures in the early stages of practice were optimal for acquisition and retention of form. © 2000 Elsevier Science B.V. All rights reserved.

This document is currently not available here.