The effect of blocked practice (BP) versus random practice (RP) on the acquisition and retention of novel speech motor sequences in healthy young adults was examined.
Twenty participants underwent a comparable amount of practice in either blocked or random order and were tested for retention the following day. Behavioral accuracy and kinematic measures of timing were obtained.
Performance levels were significantly higher, overall, for the BP group compared with the RP during the acquisition phases. During the retention test, the RP group was significantly more accurate than the BP group. Similar trends were noted, but did not reach significance, for kinematic measures.
Consistent with patterns established in the limb motor learning literature, our results indicate that BP leads to higher overall performance levels (though not necessarily greater gains in performance) during acquisition, whereas improved performance at retention is facilitated by RP.