Error-based learning requires feedback about error data to allow the learner to make corrections on a trial by trial basis. If you recall our motor learning module, error-based learning requires knowledge of performance and often includes concurrent feedback. In the clinic, this might look like using biofeedback about weight shifting on a forceplate to control a figure on a computer monitor. It could also be throwing Velcro balls a target where the learner can see how far their attempts land from the bullseye.
Reinforcement learning involves only knowledge of results (success or failure) and terminal feedback that forces the learner to explore options to facilitate more successful outcomes. In the clinic, this might look like throwing a ball at a target and the learner only knowing whether they hit the target (success) or not (failure).
Closed loop reinforcement learning means that task difficulty is controlled based on recent performance. In the ball-throwing example, this might mean moving the target to make it easier or harder to hit based on the patient’s recent attempts.