Training procedures for map learning

by Perry W. Thorndyke, Cathy Stasz

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Investigates the influence of high-level study procedures on success at map learning. After learning a map using their own techniques, subjects were instructed (1) in the use of six previously determined effective learning procedures, (2) in the use of six procedures unrelated to learning success, or (3) to continue using their own techniques. The effective procedures comprised three spatial learning techniques, two for using self-generated feedback to guide study behaviors, and a procedure for partitioning the map. On a second map-learning task, subjects trained to use effective procedures improved significantly more than the other subjects. The magnitude of performance increment was a function of the frequency with which subjects used designated procedures. In addition, both map-learning performance and use of spatial learning procedures were predictable from a psychometric measure of visual memory ability. Findings suggest high-level procedures and low-level processing skills play complementary roles in determining complex task performance.

This report is part of the RAND Corporation Note series. The note was a product of the RAND Corporation from 1979 to 1993 that reported other outputs of sponsored research for general distribution.

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