Learning from your Mistakes: The Learning Curve and Practice


The learning curve is a graphical record or representation of a person’s change in rate of learning, for a specific activity, such as an online psychometric test. The curve is negatively accelerated, which means that further practicing psychometric tests improves performance but with diminishing returns. That is, the pattern generally shows rapid improvement from initial practice followed by less improvement with additional practice. The learning curve demonstrates that psychometric test performance improves and gets faster with practicing psychometric tests online. It also shows that this improvement in task performance is fairly common across tasks.

In relation to practicing psychometric tests online, the learning curve suggests that practice always helps improve psychometric test scores, and that the most dramatic changes and improvements occur in the initial, earlier practice sessions. It also implies that, given the consistency and commonality of the learning curve across tasks, people can achieve comparable levels of performance and comparable performance for various tasks. With practice, that’s the key.

Learning may be defined as a change in behaviour as a result of experience, i.e. practice. Practice is an activity which leads to skills acquisition. For example, through practicing online psychometric tests you repeatedly experience a novel task, the unfamiliar questions in particular psychometric test, which increases your competence, and eventually, leads to mastery of the task. Practice has been a central topic of interest to researchers interested in the study of learning.

It is interesting to contrast the psychometric test performance of novices and experts. Novices, make a lot of errors whereas experts only make occasional errors. An important element of practicing psychometric tests is that it invites you to learn from errors. During initial practice, novices make errors and then correct themselves, which, across practice sessions, decreases the rate errors are made. That is, change in error rate and thus the learning curve, has been found to be a function of amount of practice (Ohlsson, 1996). It has also been found that practice needs to be specific to the task itself. This supports the act of practicing psychometric tests online. This is often referred to as the task specificity of methods (Ohlsson, 1996). Additionally, research has shown that practice rarely is transferable from one task to another.

Learning from mistakes and error detection also require task-specific practice, such as practicing psychometric tests online. As the psychometric test taker you need to be aware of your errors in order to learn from them. The link between the importance of testing your performance on psychometric tests through practicing psychometric tests online is obvious. In order for you (or a novice in any activity) to test their work, it is necessary for them to undertake practice activities such as online psychometric tests, whereby the results will inform you whether (and where) or not you have made mistakes. This error detection ability of online psychometric testing allows a form of supervised practice, feedback and evaluation.

But how do you self detect and learn from errors? This can be done by comparing your actual online psychometric test results with your expected psychometric test results. Thereby, you are becoming aware of any discrepancies between your actual and expected results. Ohlsson (1996) further contends that through practice and error detection, you are then able to explain to your self what went wrong and change your behaviour as a result, i.e. you learn. Your self-revised explanations help you to pinpoint where you made errors, and how you can improve your psychometric test results.