Some of the conventions regarding relearning of complex tasks (requiring both psychomotor and procedural skills) are well known, especially as relating to retention curves. Still lacking, however, is information which better clarifies the relationship between relearning and skill retention. The purpose of this study was to examine this relationship while identifying the parameter affecting the duration between training intervals, in order to maintain a high level of performance. Two additional aspects were examined in this study: actual differences in the measure of decrease in the operator's level for various task dimensions and the implication for integrating a simulator in the refresher training program. This study conducted a controlled field experiment in a military electronic warfare unit, examining refresher training of reserve soldiers operating a complex electronic system. Examination of the study's hypotheses and analysis of the experiment's results indicated a cyclical behavioral model of the retention curve and the relearning aspects involved (training intervals, "warming up" phenomenon, model boundaries etc.). This result necessitates the inclusion of the retention curve within the framework of the instruction task analysis (especially with training programs which include refresher training). It should be noted that the study's conclusions are valid not merely for military tasks, but are also valid for implementation in complex civilian tasks.
Journal of Workplace Learning – Emerald Publishing
Published: Dec 1, 2000
Keywords: Learning; Retention; Learning cycle; Skills; Learning curves; Re‐training
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