Learning Motor Skill in Physical Education

Authored by: Catherine D. Ennis , Ang Chen

Handbook of Research on Learning and Instruction

Print publication date:  December  2010
Online publication date:  February  2011

Print ISBN: 9780415804608
eBook ISBN: 9780203839089
Adobe ISBN: 9781136882159


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Magill (2009) defined motor skill learning as “a change in the capability of a person to perform a skill that must be inferred from a relatively permanent improvement in performance” (p. 169). Research over three decades has provided evidence that practice is the single most important factor responsible in learning to perform a motor skill (Barnett, Ross, Schmidt, & Todd, 1973; Del Rey, Wughalter, & Whitehurst, 1982; Fitts, 1954; Guadagnoli, Holcomb, & Weber, 1999; Krigolson & Tremblay, 2009; Starkes, 2000; Swanson & Lee, 1992). Practice effectiveness, however, is related to how it is structured and the type, timing, and amount of feedback the learner receives while practicing (French et al., 1991). Maximizing the quality of the learner’s skill practice opportunities is a primary goal of physical education teaching.

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