Blog of Sara Jakša

Learning Techniques - Interweaving practice

Did you ever did any sports? Here I am more talking about training sports, even if it was just for fun, than doing sports as a way to meet people.

If you are anything like me, than you have some experience with that. In my case, I spended 8 years training dance, and now I am in my 6 year of training Karate. I am going to explaining this learning technique on a Karate example, but it is a technique, that is not only used in sports, but in any learning.

There is a difference in types of training. There is a interweaving practice and block practice.

Block types of training are the ones, where the concentration is on a specific detail. For example, if I want to have a better punch, than I will do 100 hundred punches every day. Then I will go to the next element, for example the upper block, or kick or anything. Single element in repeated numerous times, before changing the element of training.

But we also do the interweaving practice. That is, where we are bringing every element together. Like when we are training in katas or have a free sparring session.

Interweaving practice means practicing more than one element in the same time. For language learning that means having a conversation, for tennis, having a practice match, for public speaking, giving a presentation. Instead of doing it one element after another. Like studying grammar rule for language learning, practicing serves for tennis or learning how to use a vocal variety with exercises for public speaking.

The magic of interweaved practice is, that while the advancement is less seen, since it happens in more than one area at the same time, the net advancement is still bigger than doing blocked practice. For example, making punches will make my punches better than doing interweaved practice, but the learning of all disciplines, like licks, blocks, timing and so on will be bigger in the same amount of time.

In order to use the interweaving practice, two strategies can be used. One is to use knowledge in the real world. Like programing an application instead of learning functions. Or writing a story in foreign language instead of studying that grammar rule. Or having a fight, instead of practicing punches.

The other strategy is to combine the learning material. In one school, instead of learning how to calculate the volume of one body and then the next, they combined all the volume lessons into one.

That does not mean, that blocked practice have no place. Blocked practice is a great way, if there is a single place or lack of knowledge, that is holding everything back. But interweaved practice is a great norm in learning new things, before the problem areas are identified.