Observational Learning - Self-observation Can Be Detrimental to Learning

Luc Proteau, Mathieu Andrieux


Observation of a model who is performing a motor skill improves naïve observers’ learning of that skill. The aim of the present study was to determine whether self-observation or a combination of expert and self-observation would promote learning better than observation of an expert model and a “generic” novice model. Such a scenario could be the case because self-observation would underline errors that are specific to oneself, whereas the combination of expert and self-observation would have the additional benefit of allowing the learner to determine what to do to improve his or her performance. The task that we chose required that the participants change the relative timing pattern that naturally emerged from the task constraints to a new imposed pattern of relative timing. The 100 participants were randomly assigned to one of five groups: control (C), physical practice (PP), expert and “generic” novice observation (EGO), expert and self-observation (ESO), and self-observation (SO). Learning was evaluated by contrasting the performance of the participants in a pre-test that preceded physical practice or observation and in two retention tests (10-min and 24-hour). A preliminary analysis of the individual data revealed two patterns of results depending on the initial level of performance of the participants in the pre-test. The results indicate that if physical practice is not possible (e.g., because of lack of material or injury) or not advisable (e.g., when there is an element of danger), observation is a powerful learning tool with novices whose performance largely departs from the desired relative timing pattern. Our results also suggest that mixed observation of either oneself or a generic novice model combined with that of an expert model provides better learning than self-observation. Therefore, it appears that a mixed protocol of observation, which allows one to compare and contrast the performance of a novice to that of an expert, should be favored.


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Paper Citation

in Harvard Style

Proteau L. and Andrieux M. (2015). Observational Learning - Self-observation Can Be Detrimental to Learning . In - icSPORTS, ISBN , pages 0-0

in Bibtex Style

author={Luc Proteau and Mathieu Andrieux},
title={Observational Learning - Self-observation Can Be Detrimental to Learning},
booktitle={ - icSPORTS,},

in EndNote Style

JO - - icSPORTS,
TI - Observational Learning - Self-observation Can Be Detrimental to Learning
SN -
AU - Proteau L.
AU - Andrieux M.
PY - 2015
SP - 0
EP - 0
DO -