There is a thing in sports science/ motor learning called blocked learning , that is doing things by repetition to get better. .... but its easy to imagine that after 30 years it could all be just 'blocked learning' and so there little learning and even some decline.
Very interesting perspective on blocked learning.
I think the approach to ever-deepening reach into the principles of aikido helps guide both teaching and learning -- which at this point are for me basically synonymous.
If I have nothing new to teach, I have nothing new to learn. Working through a consistent set of principles to find applications and corrections within, around, and beyond the corpus of waza and aiki-taiso are the challenge and the adventure.
Worked so far.
As far as "blocked" or random learning is concerned... I had not considered it as such, but I suppose I use a mixed aspect of these. Typically, I start with a taiso exercise. Then we start with a particular engagement -- grab, punch etc. and that taiso -- underlying one or several waza that may proceed from that point, and which I have in mind to reach during the class.
First, we work solely on the taiso in engagement to effect immediate kuzushi, unconcerned with any eventual waza that may result. Next, we build on that taiso to carry kuzushi with it into a particular direction of movement. Then we work into progressive elements of an eventual waza that arises from the engagement and the taiso. The we apply the same taiso to a different form of engagement (i.e. --a punch vs. grab, or unarmed vs. weapon, or vice versa) to show the applicability of the taiso in various settings.
The point of this sort of "fugue and variations approach" is to reinforce that the canonical waza are all connected by the taiso in which the aiki lives, and while waza are very important as guidepoints to the student -- they are really simply splices out of a spectrum of continuous action, that has no real categorical boundaries within it. The onlty categorical boundary is between what is aiki and what is not. The reality of contact proceeds without plan or direction -- but nevertheless according to forms strictly defined (and enforced) by the nature of the body itself in an engaged setting. These can be felt, recognized and followed and initiated intuitively, once you can break it down and build it up again.