Effective feedback plays an important role in motor learning. At the same time, the feedback itself includes many levels of character. The purpose of this study was to investigate what kinds of time and type in feedback do facilitate motor skill acquiring. It was worth mentioning that, the study focused on motor skill acquisition, not on the skill retention.
Easy and hard motor tasks were used. In the easy part, the participants had to control the ball’s stop point through the key response of “ctrl+↑” or “ctrl+↓”. The actual path was blocked by the board, and the smaller the distance between target and actual point, the better of the performance. In the hard task, the participants had to track the ball’s moving path as accurate as possible. People completed the task by controlling the mouse. Also, the actual moving path was not shown. In both experiments, we defined the feedback time as immediateness and 4s delay. Besides, the feedback type was another variable. The ball moved straightly in the easy task. After its stop, the feedback was given. A word or a picture was shown in different groups. The word was “near” or “far”, and the picture showed two points at the same time, one was the target point, and the other was the ball’s actual stop point. At the same time, a number or a picture was given separately in the hard task. The number told the participants how far was the actual track away from the target, and the picture showed the tracking path directly. In both tasks, people learned from the feedback, and tried to do better in the next trial. The difference between the target value and the actual value was recorded and analyzed.
ANOVAs revealed that feedback time and type influenced motor skill acquisition differently in two tasks. In the hard one, there was no difference in two level of feedback time. Participants’ tracking skill improved significantly after the real trajectory was shown to them. However, in the simple task, people learned not only from words’ but also from pictures’ information. Note that, participants’ skill had greater improvement in the graphic feedback condition. Also, in the easy task, giving feedback immediately was better for motor skill acquiring during the early stage of the learning. In addition, the graphic feedback had similar effect both in the immediate and delay feedback, and giving text feedback immediately in the easy task was better.
In summary, the study aimed to explore effective feedback features in the context of easy and hard motor learning task. We found that providing detailed and specific feedback information was beneficial to the acquisition of motor skills, and the effect of feedback time on motor skill was different from task difficulty. We explained the results under the framework of cognitive load theory.|