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How to Practice Python
When practicing and learning a new skill, making slight changes during repeat practice sessions may help people master the skill faster than practicing the task in precisely the same way, Johns Hopkins researchers report.
In a study of 86 healthy volunteers asked to learn a computer-based motor skill, those who quickly adjusted to a modified practice session the second time around performed better than when repeating their original task, the researchers found. The results support the idea that a process called reconsolidation, in which existing memories are recalled and modified with new knowledge, plays a key role in the strengthening of motor skills, says senior study author Pablo A. Celnik, M.D., professor of physical medicine and rehabilitation at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.
"What we found is if you practice a slightly modified version of a task you want to master, you actually learn more and faster than if you just keep practicing the exact same thing multiple times in a row," says Celnik. The work, described in the Jan. 28 edition of the journal Current Biology, has implications not only for leisure skills, like learning to play a musical instrument or a sport, but also for helping patients with stroke and other neurological conditions regain lost motor function, he says.
Johns Hopkins Medicine. "Want to learn a new skill? Faster? Change up your practice sessions." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 January 2016. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2016/01/160128130955.htm>.
Wymbs, N., Bastian, A., & Celnik, P. (2016). Motor skills are strengthened through reconsolidation. Current Biology, 26(3), 338-343. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2015.11.066