Motor learning


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This chapter provides with definition of learning, motor learning, its characteristics, process, types, stages and factors that play a significant role in learning

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Motor learning

  1. 1. Motor learning Learning ‘The foundations for learning are doing much, suffering much and studying much.’ Catherall 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 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 learning.” 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.
  2. 2. Examples in our daily life  To play piano  To drive a car  To swim  To play games  To drive automobiles  Flying an airplane  Operating a submarine All of the above are examples of motor learning Skills: “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.
  3. 3. 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 correctly performed. • 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 mechanized. 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.
  4. 4. 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 exercise. 1. 2. 3. 4. 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. Experimental evidence 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