The effect of contextual interference on children's acquisition, transfer, and retention of a closed skill
This study investigated the contextual interference effect of differing practice schedule on acqisition, transfer, and retention of a closed skill in first-grade children. Forty-eight subjects were randomly classified into four groups; random, blocked, random-blocked, and control. Children threw a weighted bean bag to a fixed target location. Each subject performed 15 trials at the weights of 4, 5, and 6 oz. for a total of 45 trials. After 5 minutes rest a transfer test using novel weights of 3 and 7 oz. were given in a blocked order with 6 trials for each weight. Also, after 24 hours all subjects were given a retention test consisting of 9 trials at the same weights (4, 5, and 6 oz.) in a random order. The order of the weights was counterbalanced within each group. Results generally supported previous findings of the contextual interference effects. The random-blocked group performed better in both transfer and retention than the other three groups. Over all, the experiment suggested that transfer and retention performance for children is enhanced by the using a random-blocked structure of variable practice.