Curriculum Guideline

Dynamics of Motor Skill Acquisition

Effective Date:
Course Code
SPSC 1164
Dynamics of Motor Skill Acquisition
Sport Science
Science & Technology
Start Date
End Term
Semester Length
15 weeks
Max Class Size
Contact Hours
4 hours
Method Of Instruction
Methods Of Instruction
  • Lectures
  • Discussion Groups
  • Laboratories
  • Practice Applications
  • Field Observation
  • Technology Assisted Learning
Course Description
This course will provide students with knowledge of motor skill acquisition, the variables which influence the learning and performance of motor skills, and principles of motor control.
Course Content
  1. The Basis of Motor Skill Acquisition
    1. Learning and Performance
      • Motor performance and motor learning
      • Types of learning
      • Measurement of learning
      • Individual differences in learning
      • Theories and concepts of learning
    2. The Nature of Skill
      • Definition
      • Classification
      • Skill and habit
    3. Stages of Learning
      • Verbal-cognitive stage
      • Motor stage
      • Autonomous stage
    4. Factors Influencing Skill Acquisition
      • Feedback
      • Demonstrations
      • Instructions
      • Rehearsal
    5. Type of Practice
      • Massed versus Distributed practice
      • Variable versus Constant practice
      • Random versus Blocked practice
      • Serial practice
  2. Principles of Motor Control
    1. Learning and Performance
      • Closed-loop model
      • Open-loop model
    2. The information processing framework
      • Stimulus-identification stage
      • Response selection stage
      • Response programming stage
    3. Factors influencing motor control
      • Psychological factors
      • Environmental factors
    4. Type of research methods and performance measures
      • Outcome and process measures
      • Scientific method
      • Statistical analyses in motor research
  3. Psycho-social factors related to motor skill learning, control, and performance, specifically with respect to factors of:
    1. Socialization
      • Environmental conditions 
      • Learning styles
    2. Personality
      • Anxiety
      • Arousal
      • Anticipation
      • Expertise
    3. Motivation
      • Goals
Learning Outcomes

After having completed the course as outlined below, students will have acquired a basic knowledge of:

  1. The basis of motor skill acquisition, specifically with respect to:
    • Learning and performance
    • The nature of skill
    • Stages of learning
    • Factors influencing skill acquisition
    • Types of practice
  2. Principles of motor control associated with:
    • Learning and performance
    • The information processing framework
    • Factors influencing motor control
    • Type of research methods and performance measures
  3. Psycho-social factors related to motor skill learning, control, and performance, specifically with respect to factors of:
    • Socialization
    • Personality
    • Motivation
Means of Assessment

The selection of evaluation tools for this course is based upon adherence to Douglas College evaluation policy regarding number and weighing of evaluations, for example a course of three credits or more should have at least three separate evaluations. 

The following is presented as an example assessment format for this course:

Mid-term Examination 20%
Final Examination 20%
Application Project 30%
Experiment 10%
Laboratory Assignment 20%
Textbook Materials

Possible textbooks:

  • Schmidt, R.A., & Lee, T.D. (current addition). Motor Control and Learning: A Behavioral Emphasis (5th Ed.). Champaign Illinois, Human Kinetics Publishers.
  • Schmidt, R.A. & Wrisberg, C.A. (2008). Motor Learning and Performance: A Situation-Based Learning Approach (4th Ed.). Champaign Illinois, Human Kinetics Publishers. 
Which Prerequisite