I recently came across a presentation on police training by Lon Bartel of VirTra, a law enforcement and military training company. In this presentation Bartel emphasized the SCORE approach to training.
What caught my attention was the reinforcement of the idea of spreading out challenging, realistic, and varying training situations over time, as opposed to mere classroom-heavy learning blocked over a few days.
Effective teacher training needs to occur regularly over a long period of time, and involve unpredictable or imperfectly controlled situations and scenarios.
Bartel's ideas support the use of live teaching labs and scenarios for teacher training.
Here's a brief summary of Bartel's main points, with emphasis on the spacing of practice.
Space out practice
Space out practice
By ‘spacing’ training activities out
over time, (1-2 hours every other day, or at least once per week versus 8-hour
marathon cramming sessions) you will be able to learn more information and
retain it longer
Massed practice refers to a
style of practice where an individual engages in a large amount of training in
a single, uninterrupted session. The goal of massed practice is to improve the
skill or behavior through intensive repetition, with the assumption that the
more you practice in one session, the better you will get.
On the other hand, spaced practice
refers to a style of practice where an individual engages in smaller amounts of
training, spaced out over time. In this method, there are breaks between
practice sessions, and the goal is to retain and reinforce the learned skill or
behavior over a longer period. The idea behind spaced practice is that by
spacing out the training sessions, the brain has time to consolidate and
reinforce the newly acquired information, leading to better retention and
transfer to new situations. In general, spaced practice has been shown to be
more effective than massed practice in terms of long-term retention and
transfer to new situations, although the optimal spacing between sessions
can vary depending on the task and the individual.
Spacing helps when learning a skill because it allows the learner to spread out their study and practice over a longer period of time, instead of trying to learn everything in a single session. This approach has been shown to be more effective than massed practice, where all the study and practice is done in a single session.
There are several reasons why
spacing is beneficial when learning a skill:
• Improved retention:
Spacing helps to promote long-term memory retention by allowing the learner to
revisit the material at spaced intervals, which helps to strengthen the neural
connections in the brain.
understanding: By revisiting the material over time, the learner can
build a deeper understanding of the skill and identify areas where they may need
• Avoidance of overloading:
Spacing helps to avoid cognitive overload by breaking down the learning into
smaller, manageable chunks, which can make the learning process less
overwhelming and more effective.
• Better transfer:
Spacing also helps to promote transfer of learning, as it allows the learner to
apply what they have learned to real-world situations and contexts, which can
help to consolidate their understanding of the skill. Overall, spacing is an
effective approach to learning skills as it allows the learner to take a more
gradual and structured approach, which can help to promote better retention,
understanding, and transfer.
Challenge must exist
-If it doesn’t
challenge you, it doesn’t change you
Obstacles help us deal with error in the
occur in less-than-perfect environments
Randomize the skills
-A variety of
potential scenarios rather than predictable, specific situations
looks worse but performance is better
Exceptions exist with the very new or if prior
to a precise performance
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