Bjork cites studies which have shown that the more difficult the training program, the more effective it is at producing long-term learning (341). Little new learning occurs in training sessions unless there is a fluctuation in contextual cues. Increases in storage strength are a negatively accelerated function of current retrieval strength, and during training in which no new elements are introduced, very little new learning will occur.
Bjork next brings up the concept of perceptual fluency, which is the sense of familiarity evoked by presented materials (343). This fluency may often lead to errors, says Bjork, because the subject is used to seeing the presented materials in a certain context, and when they are recognized, the memory of that context returns, rather than the subject assessing the situation as a novel event. This is a source of misassessment of competence, even though perceptual fluency may be a useful heuristic. We have a tendency to attribute something that seems familiar to prior learning, when it may only be familiar due to prior exposure, says Bjork (344). Therefore, Bjork proposes, it is important to give ourselves the opportunity to provide answers to questions and problems in order to assess our competence.
Retrieval fluency is dependent on many factors, including frequency and recency of usage, because the actual process of retrieval itself is a learning event, according to Bjork (346), and makes retrieval of that same information easier in the future. However, retrieval fluency does not necessarily denote learning, because it is often subject to priming effects. The accuracy and the fluency of retrieval are correlated, but fluency can influence confidence even when it is wrong (347). Being able to retrieve knowledge and skills fluently at a given point in time may give the confidence that it will be possible to do so in the future, but this subjective sense of access fluency during training unde...
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