The nonlinear nature of learning : a differential learning approach

SCHOLLHORN, W I, HEGEN, P and DAVIDS, Keith (2012). The nonlinear nature of learning : a differential learning approach. Open Sports Sciences Journal, 5 (1), 100-112.

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Link to published version:: 10.2174/1875399X01205010100


Traditional learning approaches are typically based on a linear understanding of causality where the same causeleads to the same effect. In recent years there has been increasing interest in the complexity of nature and living phenom-ena, with significant insights provided by models of change that are based on a nonlinear understanding of causality,where small causes can lead to big effects and vice versa. In this vein, learning processes seem to be more successful for inducing behavioral change when teaching processes deviate from a linear approach. The differential learning approachtakes advantage of fluctuations in a complex system by increasing them through ‘no repetition’ and ‘constantly changingmovement tasks’ which add stochastic perturbations. Previous research has provided much evidence on the superiority of a differential learning approach for learning single movement techniques, in comparison to repetition- and correction-oriented approaches. In this pilot study, the parallel acquisition and learning of two movement techniques in the sport of football are the objective of investigation. One traditionally trained group and two differentially trained groups (blockedand random) trained for 4 weeks, twice a week, on ball control and shooting at goal tasks. Results supported previouswork and revealed significant advantages for both differential groups in the acquisition phase as well as in the learning phase, compared to the traditional group. These data suggest that, instead of following a direct linear path towards the tar-get of a ‘to-be-learned’ movement technique by means of numerous repetitions and corrections, a differential approach ismore beneficial because it perturbs learners towards more functional movement patterns during practice.

Item Type: Article
Research Institute, Centre or Group: Centre for Sports Engineering Research
Identification Number: 10.2174/1875399X01205010100
Depositing User: Carole Harris
Date Deposited: 02 Oct 2013 13:08
Last Modified: 02 Oct 2013 13:08

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