March 10, 2016 – Getting Better


Anchor lead: Can you help yourself learn a new skill faster? Elizabeth Tracey reports

Learning a new skill can be frustrating, especially when a lot of practice is devoted to it but it still feels like one step forward, two steps back.  Now new research by Pablo Celnik, director of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins, and colleagues, shows that slightly changing up the regimen is very helpful.

Celnik: I would suggest that based on this study that when people practice they don’t do exactly the same thing every continuous practice, they introduce subtle modifications in what they are doing in different sessions, so this is different from practicing different things in the same session.  This is one session of one thing, then the subsequent session slightly modify what you’re doing, then the third session come back to the original thing.  If you do that you will gain more out of the subsequent session.  :27

Celnik says the strategy can help those who’ve had strokes or been injured relearn how to accomplish skills they’ve had previously more quickly.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.