Practice Makes Perfect? When Does Massed Learning Improve Product Usage Proficiency?
Previous research has shown that spacing of information (over time) leads to better learning of product information. We develop a theoretical framework to describe how massed or spaced learning schedules interact with different learning styles to influence product usage proficiency. The core finding is that with experiential learning, proficiency in a product usage task is better under massed conditions, whereas with verbal learning, spacing works better. This effect is demonstrated for usage proficiency assessed via speed as well as quality of use. Further, massed learning also results in better usage proficiency on transfer tasks, for both experiential and verbal learning. We also find that massed learning in experiential learning conditions leads not only to better usage proficiency but also to positive perceptions of the product. Overall, the pattern of results is consistent with a conceptual mapping account, with massed experiences leading to a superior mental model of usage and thus to better usage proficiency. (c) 2010 by JOURNAL OF CONSUMER RESEARCH, Inc..
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