The effect of job interruptions on human learning Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/vx021h343

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  • The effects of job interruptions on human learning
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  • It is a widely accepted premise of industrial management that an interruption in the performance of a task will be accompanied by a decrease in operator skill level upon resuming performance of the task. Moreover, it has been generally assumed that this loss of skill is related to several factors including the amount of prior experience on the task and the duration of the interruption period. The objective of this research was to examine the influence of both factors on the amount of forgetting (or retention) and on the learning rates during prerest and postrest periods. Twenty college students were trained on a manual assembly task for either twenty or forty trials. Their performance was interrupted for either one or three days, at which time they performed twenty more trials. The recorded production times were fitted to an exponential function and a power function in two forms. The experimental findings indicate the amount of skill forgotten 'and retained were influenced by the interruption and both were statistically significant at 0.5 type I error. In addition, the results showed a significant difference between the rate of original learning and relearning. Generally, the lost skill was recovered in almost three trials. Unexpectedly, the levels of original experience and retention interval were insignificant. The exponential function seems to fit the historical data better but future performance tends to be predicted better by the power function.
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