When doing the wrong thing is right


We designed an experiment to explore the learning effectiveness of three different ways of practicing dance movements. To our surprise we found that partial modeling, called marking in the dance world, is a better method than practicing the complete phrase, called practicing full-out; and both marking and full-out are better methods than practicing by repeated mental simulation. We suggest that marking is a form of practicing a dance phrase aspect-by-aspect. Our results also suggest that prior work on learning by observation and learning by mental practice may not scale up to complex movements.

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