Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Kinesiology




Dr. Kellie Green Hall



The Effect of Random, Blocked, and Transition Practice Schedules on Children’s Performance of a Barrier Knockdown Test

Gregory C. Snider

The purpose of this research was to examine whether a transition schedule of contextual interference facilitated learning in retention and transfer equal to or better than random and blocked schedules among children. The author selected participants from the central coast of California and from youth activity leagues. The author selected children between the ages of 10 to 13 with a mean age of 11.5. There were a total of 36 subjects, half male and half female. Unfortunately, due to computer error, only data from 15 subjects were saved and available for analysis. Researchers randomly assigned participants to one of three groups: the random group, the blocked group, or the transition group. Each group performed 60 trials during the acquisition phase and practiced a total of 3 different arm patterns. All three groups practiced each pattern a total of 20 times during acquisition. The random group practiced each pattern in random fashion such that no one pattern was repeated more than twice in a row. The blocked group performed 20 trials of the green pattern, followed by 20 trials of the blue pattern, and lastly 20 trials of the red pattern. The transition group performed the first 24 trials in a blocked fashion, that is 8 trials of the green pattern were practiced, followed by 8 trials of the blue pattern, and then 8 trials of the red pattern. The group then practiced smaller blocks and performed 5 trials of each color. Another 9 trials were performed in a blocked fashion with 3 trials of each pattern. The final 12 trials were presented randomly to this group.

Following acquisition, participants took an immediate retention test that was counter balanced following a 10 minute rest. The retention test consisted of 9 random trials of the three various patterns. Researchers gave a transfer test following the retention test, which consisted of six trials of a novel (white) pattern. Researchers tested all three groups one week later with a delayed retention and transfer test similar to the tests described above. One-way ANOVA analysis of the data revealed a significant movement time difference (F=4.28; P=.039) during the delayed retention test. The follow up Tukey test demonstrated that the transition group had a significantly faster movement time than the blocked group but that random group was not significantly different from either the blocked or transition group. The other retention and transfer tests revealed no significance, however the trend in the data suggest that with a bigger sample size, the transition group would demonstrate learning equal to or better than both random and blocked groups. Further research is needed in the area of transition practice schedules.

Included in

Motor Control Commons