Utilizing a bandwidth protocol to determine the opportunities for self-controlled knowledge of results during motor skill learning


Bandwidth protocols reduce KR opportunities and have been proven beneficial for skill acquisition. However, traditional bandwidth procedures do not provide learners with the ability to self-control their KR frequency. When learners are able to request KR in a self-controlled manner, learning benefits are apparent. The purpose of this experiment was to determine the impact of providing learners with the ability to self-control their KR schedule when their performance fell within a pre-determined performance criterion. Due to the fact that learners prefer to request KR after good trials, we predicted that learners who could only request KR after good performances (Bandwidth Inside) would outperform learners who could only request KR after poor performances (Bandwidth Outside). Participants were asked to complete a key-pressing series (3-1-2-4-3-1) in a goal of 2500 ms. Learners (48) completed the task under Bandwidth Inside (12), Bandwidth Outside (12), Yoked with Self-Control Inside (12), or Yoked with Self-Control Outside (12) conditions. Acquisition was 80 trials and retention, time transfer, and pattern transfer tests were conducted 24hrs later. Contrary to our predictions, the bandwidth outside group outperformed the bandwidth inside group in acquisition, F(1,22) = 5.34, p< 0.05, and outperformed both the bandwidth inside group, F (1,22) = 6.26, p< 0.05, and their self-controlled counterparts in retention, F(1,22) = 5.61, p< 0.05. Thus, the results of this study suggest that providing learners with the opportunity to self-control KR when performance falls outside of an instructor-determined range is superior in facilitating skill acquisition. In other words, good retention should result for novice learners when the instructor asks the performer if they would like feedback when the performance was perceived to be poor by the instructor. Overall, these results are commensurate with early theoretical beliefs pertaining to the informational role of KR in correcting movement errors, rather than reinforcing ‘correct’ trials.