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 a motor control strand and a motor learning strand. The motor control strand 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 motor learning strand 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. Implications for, and applications to, teaching motor skills, coaching and rehabilitation are drawn. The unit includes a group project in which a motor skill is trained, thereby enabling students to apply the principles of motor control and learning.
2-hr lecture/week; Practical field work 1x2-hr class/week (Weeks 1-7, 9)
tutorial presentation (15%), mid semester exam (10%), group presentation of training project skill (pass/fail), written group project report (30%), end semester exam (45%)