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NCSU HFES Colloquium
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  • Are there age related differences in feedback requirements for learning a new task?
  • Lets get right to a definition of feedback. Feedback is information from an external source about performance meant to guide learning. Feedback has various roles. It can be used to inform the learner of correct responses, or to increase motivation and to help energize the learner. performance can be viewed as temporary transient effects, or what an individual does in an activity while Learning can be defined as a permanent change in the ability of an individual Feedback studies have generally looked at feedback in terms of “more” or “less” information. However, more or less information doesn’t always correspond to more or less support. So, what we really mean is more or less instruction, or guidance for the learner.
  • Here are three parameters for feedback generally manipulated in feedback research to provide more or less support. The first is content, which studies generally measure as the units or type of information in the feedback. Frequency has generally been examined as being absolute, meaning the total number of trials with feedback, or relative, meaning the percentage of total trials with feedback. Timing of feedback indicates the amount of delay between the action and feedback on that action. For example, taking a test and receiving a grade a week later would be feedback with a 1 week delay. These parameters have generally been studied by placing them on a spectrum and comparing the extremes. (PRESS) For example, feedback content has been compared by giving conceptual feedback about a system or directive feedback about correct actions. Feedback frequency has been compared from rare or once at the end of training, to feedback every trial. Timing has been compared with many different delays between action and feedback. You can think of these parameters as being set to some point between their extremes (PRESS). I’ve created a label called support (PRESS) that captures the way these feedback parameters have been manipulated. If you think about the low side of the spectrum offering less SUPPORT for performance and the right side offering more… it helps to organize the feedback literature. (PRESS) I’ll get more into how this organizes the findings in a minute. “ Common sense” might suggest that giving High support during acquisition and thereby making the learner appear to demonstrate more accurate performance at that time would result in better learning. This is not the case. MOST researchers currently agree: setting any of these parameters toward the low side tends to reduce perf. in acq but increase performance after a retention interval and on transfer tests. This is called the paradox of transfer and retention.
  • Is performance in acquisition a predictor of performance in acquisition?
  • The studies listed here have found that decreasing feedback support on one or more of the parameters we just discussed resulted in more learning. The primary theory supporting less support is better is desirable difficulties which suggests that practice conditions that make it more difficult for the learner facilitates retention and application of concepts to similar tasks. Why is less support better? -Schmidt & Bjork would argue by increasing the depth of processing of the learner by making them repeatedly retrieve information in acquisition facilitates more retention. In addition, the learner may become dependent upon the feedback and as a result may not be learning anything. It may also help keep the learner motivated and focused.
  • The studies listed here have found that providing more support to a learner in acquisition led to increased retention. The primary theory supporting the more feedback is better camp is cognitive load theory which states A learner has limited cognitive resources and feedback should be provided to reduce the cognitive load during acquisition and thus free up resources needed for learning. This should lead to increased retention after some time interval. The cognitive resources of a learner can be defined as attention, memory, expectation and context .
  • Working memory is a good measure of cognitive resources for learning. Highly correlated with reasoning and fluid intelligence.
  • McLaughlin, Rogers & Fisk (2006) concluded after reviewing the feedback literature that available cognitive resources and task demand may determine the amount of feedback required in learning a new task. In this framework, resources are defined as those processes needed for learning. The learner has a limited amount of resources to devout to learning, feedback and the task. Do older adults require the same feedback for learning as others with diminished cognitive resources?
  • Those variables were Learner characteristics and experimental task load. (POINT and POINT) From my review studies that found low support to be beneficial had either (PRESS) High ability learners, used young adults, or the participants had some experience with the task. Benefits of Higher support corresponded to (PRESS) Low ability learners, OA, special pop (such as remedial students or children) or novices. When it came to task load, studies in favor of low support tended to have Simple tasks, such as single degree of freedom motor learning Studies in favor of high support tended to have complex tasks, such as air traffic control or using a skiing simulator So, what do these all have in common? available controlled Resources and resource use. The groupings of learner characteristics here show generally more resources available to this group and fewer to this group. The same is true for the task load… these tasks tend to consume more resources than these. So let’s talk about an index for some learner resources…
  • Aging results in a decrease of sensory processes, memory, working memory, visual perception, executive functions and attention. Sensory processes - refer to the method the nervous system uses to receive, organize and understand sensory input. It allows us to figure out how to respond to our environment based on the things around us. WMC - the amount of attentional processes available to an individual as well as the ability to focus and allocate these processes Executive functions - are necessary for goal-directed behavior. They include the ability to initiate and stop actions, to monitor and change behavior as needed, and to plan future behavior when faced with novel tasks and situations. They also allow us to anticipate outcomes and adapt to changing situations. Fluid Intelligence – is the long-term accumulation of knowledge and skills, or the amount of knowledge a person has acquired. Crystallized Intelligence – is the ability to solve problems that you have no previous knowledge about. If we look at the role of feedback from a cognitive perspective, then we may ask ourselves does the decline of older adults cognitive functions lead to a difference in their utilization of feedback?
  • More research has been done on cognitive resources/individual differences in learning a new task. Do these results extend to cognitive tasks? If someone asks about the diff b/t motor and cog task: something about the activation and distribution of neurons in the prefrontal cortex and subsequent distribution of them to parts of the brain is different for motor tasks as compared to cog tasks.
  • Participants Younger Adults Will be recruited from North Carolina State University. They will be offered course credit or monetary compensation at the rate of 7.00 per hour for their participation. Participants will return 3 days later and complete a retention test. Participants will be men and women. Some participants may have prior management experience. Older Adults Will be recruited from around the Raleigh community. They will be paid 7.00 per hour for their participation. Participants will return 3 days later and complete a retention test. Participants will be men and women. Some participants will have prior management experience.
  • Digit Symbol Substitution (Wechsler, 1997). Reverse Digit Span (Wechsler, 1997). Shipley Institute of Living Scale (Shipley 1986). Aospan (Unsworth et al. 2005). The Digit Symbol Substitution test is a measure of perceptual ability; the Reverse Digit Span and Aospan tests measure working memory capacity, and the Shipley Institute of Living Scale is a measure of intellectual ability. We also included demographics and an exit interview.
  • The experiment will be a 2 (feedback specificity: low and very high) x 2 (task difficulty: easy [3 employees] and hard [5 employees]) x 2 (session: practice or test) design. Feedback specificity is a between-participant factor; task complexity and session are within-participant factors. A 2 (feedback specificity: low and very high) x 2 (motivation: low or high) factorial will also be conducted to investigate the relationship between feedback specificity and levels of motivation. Acquisition and retention performance is the difference above or below the optimal standard for the group. The previously set standard is obtained from the Furniture Factory program.

NCSU HFES Colloquium NCSU HFES Colloquium Presentation Transcript

  • Feedback Requirements: Are There Age Related Differences? Chris Kelley
  • Introduction
    • Mixed results on whether more or less feedback is better
    • Disputed as to whether more or less is better
      • ( cf. Schmidt and Bjork 1992, van Merri¨enboer & Sweller, 2005 ).
  • Some Definitions
    • Feedback - Information from an external source about performance meant to guide learning
      • (Kluger & DeNsi, 1996).
    • Performance vs. Learning measures
      • (Brosvic, Dihoff, Epstein, & Cook, 2006; McLaughlin, 2007; Salmoni, Schmidt, & Walter, 1984; Schmidt & Bjork, 1992)
    • Feedback support
      • (McLaughlin, 2007)
  • Introduction to Feedback Parameters
    • Content
    • information contained in feedback (FB)
    • Frequency
    • absolute or relative; generally # of trials receiving FB
    • Timing
    • amount of delay between precipitating action and FB
    Conceptual Directive Rare Every Trial Lengthy Delay Immediate Low High SUPPORT
  • The Role of Support Feedback Present No Feedback Acquisition Retention High Increased performance Low Decreased performance Feedback/Support Condition Results Results Stay tuned… Stay tuned…
  • Less Support for Learning
    • Desirable Difficulties in acquisition
      • (see Schmidt and Bjork 1992)
    Less support is better Butki & Hoffman, 2003 Park, Shea, & Wright, 2000 Schmidt, Young, Swinnen, & Shapiro, 1989 Schooler & Anderson, 1990 Schmidt, Lange & Young, 1990 Schroth, 1997
  • More Support for Learning
    • Cognitive Load Theory
      • (Sweller, 1998)
    More support is better Adams, 1971 Dihoff, Brosvic, Epstein & Cook, 2004 McLaughlin, 2007 Schmidt, Lange & Young, 1990 Vollmeyer & Rheinberg, 2005 Wulf, Shea, & Matschiner, 1998
  • Why the Mixed Results!?
    • Any ideas?
      • -Cognitive resources
    & -Task demands
  • Support Revisited Feedback Present No Feedback Acquisition Retention High Increased performance Low Decreased performance Cog. Resources Task Demand Feedback/Support Condition Results Results
  • The Role of Cognitive Resources
  • Previous Research Reorganized Simple or easy tasks Complex or difficult tasks Task Load Prior knowledge   Low knowledge Special pop. Younger adults High ability Older adults Low ability Learner Characteristics Low Feedback Support High Feedback Support Best Level of Support
  • The Role of Aging
    • Age Related Cognitive Declines a
    • Note: a (Craik & Salthouse, 2000)
    Fluid and Crystallized ability changes by age b
    • Note: b (Craik & Salthouse, 2000)
    Sensory processes Memory Working memory Visual perception Executive functions Attention
  • Feedback Research with Older Adults
    • Limited research as to whether more or less feedback is better for older adults
    • Resource framework would predict older adults need more supportive feedback than would be optimal for younger adults
        • Simple motor task
          • OA required feedback every trial vs YA learned from every 5 trials
          • (Wishart, Lee, Cunningham, & Murdoch, 2002)
        • Complex motor task
          • OA and YA both required more feedback support to learn the task
          • (Wuf, Shea, & Matschiner, 1998)
  • Research Question
    • What are the feedback requirements for older and younger adults learning a simple cognitive task?
  • Simple or easy tasks Complex or difficult tasks Task Load Prior knowledge   Low knowledge Special pop. Younger adults High ability Older adults Low ability Learner Characteristics Low Feedback Support High Feedback Support Best Level of Support
  • Hypotheses
    • Age will interact with feedback support level, where older adults will require more support than younger. In addition, younger adults should learn more with less support compared to younger adults given more feedback support in acquisition
    Acquisition Retention Younger adults, high support Younger adults, low support Older adults, low support Older adults, high support
  • Method
    • Participants
      • Younger Adults
      • Older Adults (65 – 75)
    • Task
      • Simple
        • Manage 3 employees
      • Feedback
        • Summary
        • High
    • Design
      • Between Participants
    • Independent Variables
      • Feedback Support
      • Age (quasi)
    • Dependent variables
      • Performance in
        • Acquisition
        • Retention
      • Purpose: To investigate the relationship between age and feedback required to learn a complex cognitive task
  • Procedure Complete ability tests Acquisition (18 trials) Retention (12 trials) Feedback Retention Test 3 days More Less No Feedback
  • The Task: Furniture Factory Employee 1 Job Goal Feedback Reward Performance Decisions Employee 2 Job Goal Feedback Reward Performance Results Was it fair?
  • Differences in Feedback
  • Other Variables Measured
    • Motivation
    • WMC of younger adults
  • Conclusions
    • By systematically categorizing task demand and cognitive resources, it will help to support or refute if resources explain feedback requirements
  • The End
    • Questions &/or comments?
  • Experimental Design
    • The experiment will be a 2 x 2 x 2 design.
      • Between subject variables
        • Feedback specificity
      • Within subject variables
        • task complexity
        • session
    • A 2 x 2 factorial will also be conducted to investigate the relationship between feedback specificity and levels of motivation.
    • Dependent variables
      • acquisition performance
      • retention test performance.