Practice: Time pressure can boost performance

by on December 17, 2014 · 0 Comment POSTED IN: Rapid Learning Insights

It’s easy to see why trainers might be hesitant to add a strict time limit to practice exercises: A ticking clock ramps up the pressure and could throw learners off their games.

Well, it’s true that a deadline puts more pressure on learners. But that turns out to be a good thing.

In a recent meta-study, researchers reviewed a number of medical school studies and found that learners experience significant benefits from timed exercises.

They identified two behaviors that a time limit can inspire: overlearning, or learning more than the baseline content to ensure successful performance, and self-competition, where learners continually improve by trying to surpass their personal best.

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Timing isn’t appropriate for every practice activity, of course, but if applied in the right situations, it can engage learners and push them toward a deeper understanding of the material.

Source: Pusic, M. V., et al. (2014). What’s your best time? Chronometry in the learning of medical procedures. Medical Education, 48(5), 479-488.

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