In one particular our results in the test on physical strength were not anticipated--we did not suppose that by practicing four minutes daily for thirty days we could double our physical strength in any such a series of maximum grips with the thumb and forefinger.

It is a simple matter to measure day by day the accomplishment of one learning to use the typewriter. All beginners who take the work seriously and work industriously pass through similar stages in this learning process. Figure 2 represents the record for the first eighty- six days of a learner who was devoting, in all, sixty minutes daily to actual writing. The numbers to the left of the figure in the vertical column indicate the number of strokes (including punctuations and shifts) made in ten minutes. The numbers on the base line indicate the days of practice. Thus on the ninth day the learner wrote 700 strokes in the ten minutes; on the fifty-fourth day 1300 strokes; on the eighty-sixth day over 1400 strokes.

Figure 3 represents the results of a writer of some little experience who spent one hour a day writing a special form of copy.

In this curve it will be observed that the

{illust. caption = FIG. 2.}

increase in efficiency was very great during the first few weeks, but that during the succeeding weeks little improvement was made.--BOOK, W. R, ``The Psychology of Skill,'' p. 20.

The progress of a telegraph operator is determined by the number of words which he

{illust. caption = FIG. 3.}

can send or receive with accuracy per minute. In learning telegraphy, progress is rapid for a few weeks and then follow many weeks of less rapid improvement. Figure 4 presents the

{illust. caption = FIG. 4.}

could be classed as a fully accomplished operator. By the twentieth week this operator could receive less than 70 letters a minute, although he could send over 120 letters a minute. At the end of the fortieth week he had

reached a speed of sending which he would probably never greatly excel even though his speed was far below that attained by many operators. The receiving rate might possibly rise either slowly or rapidly until it equaled or exceeded the sending rate.--BRYAN & HARTER, ``Studies in the Physiology and Psychology of the Telegraphic Language,'' _Psychological Review_, Vol. IV, p. 49.

There are certain forms of learning and practice which do not readily admit of quantitative determinations. Nevertheless very successful attempts have been made even in the most difficult realms of learning. A beginner with the Russian language spent 30 minutes daily in industrious study and then was tested for 15 minutes as to the number of Russian words he could translate. Figure 5 shows diagrammatically the results of the experiment. Thus on the thirteenth day 22 words were translated; on the fiftieth day 45 words. Improvement was rather rapid until the nineteenth day, and then followed a slump till the forty-sixth day. Improvement was very ir-

regular.--SWIFT, E. J., ``Mind in the Making,'' p. 198.

These five figures are typical of nearly all

{illust. caption = FIG. 5.}

practice, or learning, curves. They depict the rate at which the beginner increases his efficiency. In every case we discover very great

fluctuations. On one day or at one moment there is a sudden phenomenal improvement. The next day or even the next moment the increase may be lost and a return made to a lower stage of efficiency.

There are certain forms of skill which cannot be acquired rapidly in the beginning. In such instances a period of time is necessary in which to ``warm up'' or in which to acquire the knack of the operation or the necessary degree of familiarity and self-confidence before improvement becomes possible. This is true particularly in the ``breaking in'' of new operators on large machines like steam hammers, cranes, and the like, where the mass and power of the machine awes the new man, even though he has had experience with smaller units of some kind.

Business Ebooks
Classic Literature

All Pages of This Book