The effect of task difficulty on inter-task transfer is a classic issue in motor learning. We examined the relation between self-efficacy and transfer of learning after practicing different versions of a stick balancing task. Practicing the same task or an easier version led to significant pre- to post-test transfer of learning, whereas practicing a more difficult version did not. Self-efficacy increased modestly from pre- to post-test with easy practice, but decreased significantly with difficult practice. In addition, self-efficacy immediately prior to the post-test was significantly lower after difficult practice than easy or intermediate practice. Self-efficacy immediately prior to the post-test, performance at the end of practice, and pre-test performance explained 75% of the variance in post-test performance. The mediating role of self-efficacy on transfer of learning offers an alternative explanation or recent findings on the superiority of easy-to-difficult transfer and may help clarify inconsistencies in earlier research.
Stevens, D., Anderson, D. I., O'Dwyer, N., & Mark Williams, A. (2012). Does self-efficacy mediate transfer effects in the learning of easy and difficult motor skills? Consciousness and Cognition, 21(3), 1122-1128. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.concog.2012.03.014