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Forward Chaining, Backward Chaining and Whole Task Practice in Motor Sequence Learning

Schneider, Carolin (2021) Forward Chaining, Backward Chaining and Whole Task Practice in Motor Sequence Learning.

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Abstract:Different types of learning can influence the efficiency and proficiency of acquisition and retention of motor behaviours. Previous research could not identify general guidelines on whether whole task practice, forward chaining or backward chaining is most beneficial for learning. This paper argues that with backward chaining, compared to the other two practice types, mental representations at the end of a sequence can develop quicker. In line with the Cognitive framework for Sequential Motor Behaviour (C-SMB), these mental representations help overcome the limits of the motor buffer in early learning. Thus, backwards chaining is assumed to show faster reaction times (RT) than forward chaining or whole task practice. Participants (n=36) were divided across three experimental groups and practised one 9- key sequence with the discrete sequence production (DSP) task. The experiment was designed as a two-part study to compare the retention one week later. There was no significant difference in RT between the practice groups. However, after retention and in certain key locations, backward chaining was more error-prone than the other two conditions. A potential explanation for the results is that mental representations were not yet sufficiently established to cause differences. Also, backward chaining appears to be more demanding considering that the natural sequence order needed to be reassembled.
Item Type:Essay (Bachelor)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:77 psychology
Programme:Psychology BSc (56604)
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