Motor Control and Learning (EXSS2025)


This unit provides students with a broad overview of motor control and learning with the aim of stimulating students to think about the mechanisms of normal human movement. Both a behavioural and a neurophysiological approach are taken to understand the acquisition and execution of skilled motor actions. The behavioural approach is directed at the structures and processes underlying movement without considering their physical basis, while the neurophysiological approach is directed at the neuromuscular machinery and the functional neural connections that govern movement. The unit consists of 3 modules. The first module examines the information processing and energetic capacities of the learner that underpin motor performance; that is, characteristics of the perceptual-motor system such as memory, attention, reaction time, speed-accuracy trade-off, force control, economy of energy, coordination, and automaticity. The second module examines features of the learning environment that can be manipulated to promote motor learning such as individual differences (e.g., motivation), methods of instruction, practice conditions, and the structuring of feedback. The third module examines applications to teaching motor skills, coaching and rehabilitation and includes a group project in which a motor skill is trained, thereby enabling students to apply the principles of motor control and learning.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


2-hr lecture/week; Practical field work 1x2-hr class/week (Weeks 1-8, 11)


tutorial presentation (15%), mid semester exam (10%), group presentation of training project skill (pass/fail), written group project report (30%), end semester exam (45%)


Magill, R.A. (2011). Motor Learning and Control: Concepts and Applications (9th edition). New York: McGraw Hill. Edwards, W.H. (2011) Motor Learning and Control: From Theory to Practice, Belmont, USA; Wadsworth, Cengage Learning.

Faculty/department permission required?


Unit of study rules

Assumed knowledge


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.