14 February 2009

How people learn to do something well

Instant feedback helps people to learn— quickly. And computers can often help to close the feedback loop, whether it's learning to play the drums or learning to drive efficiently:

Though the new [2010 Honda] Insight gets significantly lower mileage than the original, Honda has loaded it with an array of gauges and displays intended to coach drivers to be more economical. For instance, the speedometer's background color changes from blue to green as one's driving becomes "more environmentally responsible." Readouts reward the frugal driver with an "eco score"; if you excel, you win a digital trophy surrounded by a wreath.

You either need these video-game techniques, or a lot of driving lessons, in order to help people develop unconscious competence.

New York Times, "A New Hybrid Sprouts in the Shadow of the Prius".

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