Skill Acquisition and Motor Learning

Dr Rob Gray, Reader in Perception and Action in the School of Sport, Exercise and Rehabilitation Sciences at the University of Birmingham describes what goes on in the optional third year module Skill Acquisition and Motor Learning.

Skill Acquisition and Motor Learning is an optional third year module that follows on from the second your module Sensation and Movement. It's a module that's really made for student that are interested in coaching; they’re interested in pedagogy, they're interested in, you know, how to develop new ways to train athletes. In the module we address the topic of how people learn new skills, like in sports skills catching and throwing the ball, or in exercise as well. We also talk about how you retain those skills as you get older and how you might transfer those skills, for example if you are a race car driver any you suddenly want to switch to being a bobsledder; how will those skills transfer from one to another.

The delivery of the module is basically in three parts. We have lectures, where we cover the basic theories in the area, we talk about some of the research methods and in this we really stress on how to evaluate and design new training programs; how to evaluate new training technologies. The second type of delivery is in terms and discussing new findings in the field. It's a very hot field with constantly new technologies and techniques coming out. So we look at new papers in that area. And lastly we have a lot of hands-on laboratory demos for students get to see and try the new technologies in action.

In terms of evaluation, there's two parts to the evaluation there is a research proposal in which students take their favourite sport or exercise and are asked to develop a new thing to test; a new training program, a new piece of equipment and so on, and develop a proposal for that. Then there is a final exam in which we ask students to write essays about some of the general issues we cover and also we test your ability to take the findings of a study and make meaning of it. That's really something we want you to take away from that, being a critical consumer of the studies in this area

20 Credits

Full details of the Sport and Exercise Sciences BSc