Whether it’s learning a language, playing an instrument or regaining lost motor function, the ability to practice and learn a new skill is something we all need. While each of us may learn differently at varying paces, I think we would all love to be able to pick up a new skill quickly and efficiently!
According to a recent Johns Hopkins report, making slight changes during repeat practice sessions can help people master the skill faster, as opposed to practicing the task in precisely the same way. This is important for us parents who have children with developmental disorders, because our keiki are learning new things every day during their practice sessions at home or here at Learn 2 Focus.
For the study, 86 volunteers learned and performed an isometric pinch task over the course of two or three 45-minute sessions. This entailed squeezing a device called a force transducer to move a computer cursor across a monitor. The screen test featured five windows and a “home space.” Participants were asked to move the cursor from home to the various windows in a set pattern as quickly and accurately as possible.
Those who quickly adjusted to the modified practice session the second time around performed better than when repeating their original task. This is a process called reconsolidation, in which existing memories are recalled and modified with new knowledge. Reconsolidation plays a big role in strengthening motor skills – everything from learning a new sport or helping patients with stroke. Those who practiced reconsolidation learned fastest, as opposed to those who repeated the same task.
Every session a student trains at Learn 2 Focus we constantly adjust our sessions, parameters, and tasks to not only keep things interesting and stimulating, BUT we also utilize the process of reconsolidation. As we incorporate this concept of reconsolidation for our keiki, who might have issues with learning new skills, coordination, or attention, we can improve function.
Any thoughts about how to expand the process of reconsolidation in school or at home? Let me know what you think by dropping me a line on our social media or sending me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org!
You can read more about the study here: