Strategies for Using Instructions in Procedural Tasks
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The study examined whether an instruction-based strategy (studying the instructions before attempting the task) or a task-based strategy (attempting the task and referencing instructions) was more effective for procedural performance and learning. Four groups of participants learned to perform macram tasks and assembly tasks, and received detailed instructions at different times in the process of attempting the tasks. Performance was assessed at training and a week later by recording task completion time, correctness, and subjective cognitive load. The strategy for using instructions affected initial performance on the macram tasks, where instruction-based strategy was superior, but not later retention or transfer. This pattern of results was not found for the assembly tasks indicating that characteristics of the tasks influenced the effectiveness of the strategy for using instructions.