Self-controlled feedback: does it enhance learning because performers get feedback when they need it?

Res Q Exerc Sport. 2002 Dec;73(4):408-15. doi: 10.1080/02701367.2002.10609040.


This paper examines whether self-controlled feedback schedules enhance learning, because they are more tailored to the performers' needs than externally controlled feedback schedules. Participants practiced a sequential timing task. One group of learners (self-control) was provided with feedback whenever they requested it, whereas another group (yoked) had no influence on the feedback schedule. The self-control group showed learning benefits on a delayed transfer test. Questionnaire results revealed that self-control learners asked for feedback primarily after good trials and yoked learners preferred to receive feedback after good trials. Analyses demonstrated that errors were lower on feedback than no-feedback trials for the self-control group but not for the yoked group. Thus, self-control participants appeared to use a strategy for requesting feedback. This might explain learning advantages of self-controlled practice.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Feedback, Psychological / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Learning / physiology*
  • Male
  • Retention, Psychology / physiology
  • Task Performance and Analysis
  • Transfer, Psychology / physiology