Crammed Vs. Distributed Learning

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Crammed Vs. Distributed Learning

Jason Round



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FATIGUE, SWEAT, & BLOOD: “massed learning” is the textbook cramming the night before a big test as opposed to little and often throughout the week. Massed learning is generally considered inferior to its goody two-shoes counterpart (distributed learning), although it really comes down to the desired learning outcome and subject of practice at hand. With so many factors of consideration there is no universally conclusive guideline. . With little experience in wall-climbing, by the 75th rep I started to naturally develop a pushing/momentum mechanic with the feet to get to 100. It took the fatigue to find the efficiency and, although anyone with just a few reps more experience might have easily told me, there is power in learning things ‘the hard way’; “practice in discovering for oneself teaches one to acquire information in a way that makes that information more readily viable in problem solving.” – Jerome Bruner. . Perhaps the benefits of a massed-learning pattern are more profound within ‘discovery-learning’ contexts (independent problem solving situations where the learner draws from prior experience & knowledge. As opposed to being told & practicing/repeating it). As an explorative process, I see my movement practice as largely ‘discovery’ and ‘enquiry’ based’, by which lessons are often learnt in the toughest of times (fatigue being one of them). . In many contexts it’s a case of working hard to learn how shit you are before you can even start making improvements. The efficiency to perform multiple muscle-ups, a 100m lizard crawl, to balance on the hands, to breath calmly under stresses, to maintain stillness forms, to climb a difficult boulder route… Whilst little and often definitely has its place (perhaps more in refining), the majority of my most profound learning experiences (and few successes) has been accompanied by fatigue, sweat, and blood.

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