‘The foundations for learning are doing much, suffering much and studying much.’
Learning is lifetime process, which starts in every man from the time of his birth.
Although the conventional education is completed after a certain age but learning is an
endless process. Learning involves any action of man including thoughts, customs,
attitude, personality characteristics and even his perception is the result of his learning, so
it is true that there will be no progress without learning
“Learning is a relatively permanent change in behavior clue to experience.”
The definition distinguishes between the performance changes due to maturation
and those changes are brought about by experience. The definition also emphasis on the
knowledge whether it is the verbal or skill learning.
Types of learning
There are basically two types of learning
1. Verbal learning
2. Motor learning
Motor learning is also called skill learning. Everyday life is full of activity that
demand motor learning. It can be defined as:
“Performing an act in which the individual needs to have command over a particular
function of human organs.”
“When we acquire through learning a coordinate series of responses which are
performed with proficiency. This type of learning is called skill learning or motor
The type of learning which involves the use of muscles is called motor learning.
In this type of learning the individual acquires new muscular coordination. In other words
motor skill requires coordination between environment and internal body. Skill learning
is accomplished through instrumental learning often facilitated by conscious imitation or
by direct verbal instructions.
Development of interest
The study of skill learning had begun before the end of last century its study has a
surprising uneven history in the development of psychology. It is only recently that the
study of motor learning has a renewed spirit of interest.
Examples in our daily life
To play piano
To drive a car
To play games
To drive automobiles
Flying an airplane
Operating a submarine
All of the above are examples of motor learning
“Skill is nil without will”
Skill is when we acquire a coordinate series of responses that are performed with
proficiency like to play a piano or to drive a car are all skills.
Characteristics of Motor Learning
The study of motor learning did not have a founding father. Motor learning is a
fascinating subject to study for variety of reasons. One of them is ‘resistance for
forgetting’ shown by any motor skill, such as riding a bicycle, swimming or skating can
be readily reviewed even after years of disuse.
Secondly, well-practiced skill performance can reach a ‘state of mobility’ in the
sense that conscious attention seems no longer necessary for its execution (performance).
The learning of motor skill is gradual according to the old saying,
“Practice makes a man perfect”
The learning of a new motor behavior is not limited nor isolated to the muscles
directly involved in a skill. Thus, learning can be transferred to other body parts e.g. hand
writing learned with right hand can even be done with right foot.
Discrete motor skills
If a skill requires one distinct movement having an identifiable beginning and
endpoint, we characterized the skill as discrete motor skill. Discrete motor skill
includes flipping light switch, depressing the clutch of an automobile and hitting a
piano key. Each of these skills requires one distinct movement that begins and ends at
clearly defined points.
Continuous motor skill
These contain movements that are always repetitive. We can classify skill
such as steering an automobile, tracking a moving cursor on a computer monitor with
joystick, swimming and walking as continuous skills.
The process of skill learning
The initial stages of learning or motor learning involve a great deal of intentional
control. In many motor skills there is often a teacher that gives the instructions.
Furthermore, the learner may repeat instructions while performing the skill. Thus,
at beginning stages’ learning a motor skill requires great cognitive efforts. However, once
he became an expert he requires no longer cognitive efforts.
Motor learning is chaining of individual’s stimulus-response association. Each
component must be learned before the entire sequence can be put into operation. The
correct order of sequences is important to the final goal. Some elements in the sequence
follow each other naturally, or easily than other. Response to each stimulus serves both as
stimulus for the next response and as a source of information that the response has been
Closed motor skill
If the environment is stable i.e. if it does not change while the person is
performing the skill then we classify it as closed motor skill. For these skills object
we acted on does not change during the performance of a skill.
Open motor skill
It is a skill that a person performs in a non-stable environment where the
object of content changes during performance of a skill.
Types of motor learning
1. Total learning: it is also called complete skill fullness.
2. Partial learning: the people who get partial learning are called semi-trained.
Serial order process: Motor skill usually involves learning in a serial order.
Measurement: In measurement of motor learning the emphasis is on exact nature
of movements and on the results achieve by them.
Stages of skill learning
There are three main stages in skill learning,
1. Cognitive stage
In the first stage of skill learning an individual requires understanding of
instructions, completing a few trials and having information about work set up.
2. Association stage
In the second stage some excellence of technical learning is attained.
Moreover there is an association between the past learning and technical learning.
3. Automation stage
In this stage the skill becomes automatic and the person is no longer
required to think about the performing task. It can be said that learning has been
Interdependency of motor and verbal learning
Although we can distinguish between skill and verbal learning but it is hard to
find only one kind of learning in our daily life, because human behavior consists of
different and complex responses.
Relationship between verbal instructions of skill learning
Many researches have been conducted to see the relationship between verbal
instructions and skill learning. They also came to know that instructions are very
important before simple skill work but are not effective in complex skill work.
Forgetting of verbal learning instead of motor learning
It is also true that we forget verbal learning very soon but remember motor
learning for a long time due to the reason that we learn motor skill after a very long
Factors involved in skill learning
Knowledge of results
Conceptualization versus practice
Distribution of practice
Transfer of training
• Positive transfer
• Negative transfer
Knowledge of results or psychological feedback
Many experimental facts point out that the person will learn about his progress, or
if the person is equally capable but unaware about his progress will knew through the
knowledge of results and eventually accelerate the learning speed. Today psychologists
use the term psychological feedback instead of knowledge of results. In fact
psychological feedback is the process in which the person comes to know about the
mistakes of his previous action and changes his behavior by correcting his mistakes,
which is necessary for skill learning
Functions of psychological feedback
1) It gives us information about our actions
2) It provides positive and negative reinforcement according to the appropriateness
and inappropriateness of our reactions.
Two ways of psychological feedback
Psychological feedback can be given either of the two ways
1) Psychological feedback is given after every trial.
2) Psychological feedback is given after general progress.
C. W. Bury explain an experiment in which some soldiers are being trained for
artillery division and they are verbally informed before, during and after shooting
practice. The soldiers were divided into three groups; group one is trained generally for
normal practice, second group learn with mutual cooperation of participants and the third
group was informed by the instructor that the bullet was fired at aim or not. They were
informed about the results immediately and after every training interval they were
informed about their scores. It was seen that the learning speed of the third group is more