Finally, should the learner be allowed to progress to a point where he/she is making mistakes? In the context of weightlifting should I allow my athletes to add on weight which may cause them to fail the lift or should I keep them in a comfort zone where they can continually make successful performance?
Again it is important to give a basic definition:
Schmidt's theory (1975) was based on the fact that actions are not stored rather we refer to abstract relationships or rules about movement. Schmidt's schema is based on the theory that that every time a movement is conducted four pieces of information are gathered:
· the initial conditions - starting point
· certain aspects of the motor action - how fast, how high
· the results of the action - success or failure
· the sensory consequences of the action - how it felt
Relationships between these items of information are used to construct a recall schema and a recognition schema. The Recall schema is based on initial conditions and the results and is used to generates a motor program to address a new goal. The recognition schema is based on sensory actions and the outcome.
(adapted from: www.brianmac.demon.co.uk
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Sawyer (2005) suggests that in order to learn, the learner must make mistakes
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Hagman (1983) and Winstein, Pohl, and Lewthwaite (1994) revealed that guided (i.e., errorless) practice was detrimental to retention and transfer, especially if presented on every acquisition trial. This was also a proposed mechanism for the findings of Lee, Wishart, Cunningham, and Carnahan (1997) in their study on modeling. Four mechanisms may facilitate this process. The first two being that errors may increase cognitive effort and elaborative processing, enhancing learning (Sherwood & Lee, 2003; Shea and Morgan, 1979). Third, it may help develop a schema, as evidence suggests that there are positive benefits from correct and incorrect movements for schema learning, which is based on a relationship among all stored elements (Schmidt and Lee, 1999). And fourth, 100% relative feedback impedes the intrinsic processes, such as problem solving, in the inter-trial interval, known to be important for learning (Sawyer, 2005; Bjork, 1988; Landauer & Bjork, 1978; Schmidt, 1991).
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The take home point? Allow learners to fail. They will learn from their mistakes. With respect to weightlifting, one important consideration to be made is that learners can fail safely (ie drop the bar safely and effectively).