learning curve

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A curve on a graph which shows performance changes against practice time or number of practice sessions. The term implies that changes in performance mirror changes in learning. Many scientists believe that this idea is an oversimplification (see latent learning). Learning curves (or, more correctly, performance curves) are used to depict the acquisition of skill. For many sports they are negatively accelerating, that is, show the fastest rate of improvement in the early stages of practice and the slowest rate as individuals approach the limits of their ability. However, accurate learning curves are difficult to obtain and are very variable since fluctuations are imposed by many factors, such as motivation, health, and concentration.

Subjects: Sports and Exercise Medicine.

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