Learning is an indispensable part of human life. Motor learning is an intrinsic part of learning, and it is hardly possible to overestimate its importance. As far as I am concerned, I have always understood the importance of motor learning, and I have been aware of some of its peculiarities. However, learning about this aspect of human life helped me understand the process more clearly. I cannot say that my opinion on the matter has changed, but I have to admit that my knowledge has become more comprehensive. My knowledge has also become more systematized, so-to-speak. I also want to add that dynamic systems and schema theories are very useful as they help to generalize a rather vast amount of information on motor learning.
Admittedly, theories are often seen as something impractical and quite unnecessary as many people fail to see the possible application of this or that theory. This viewpoint can be justified as many theories are quite disputable and raise questions rather than give answers. For instance, Adams’ closed-loop theory of motor learning provides many answers, but the theory has too many gaps.
The theory explains the processes which are intrinsic parts of motor skills learning (Schmidt, 1977). Adams revealed the importance of feedback in learning complex actions. Adams stressed the importance of the transfer of learning. According to the theory, multiple repetitions of certain processes lead to memorization. Of course, this seems obvious as people learn how to walk or how to do any sport by repeating certain processes. Though the theory puts this understanding into a concise form, i.e. repetition and feedbacks lead to learning motor skills.
However, the theory failed to explain how people produce novel movements. Schmidt (1977) stresses that almost any movement can be regarded as a novel as people hardly ever produce the same movement in the same environment. These gaps made other researchers focus on specific issues and come up with certain ideas to address the unanswered questions. Schema theory is more complete as it manages to give more answers.
According to this theory, movements are “carried out by a program”, but “this program is viewed as a “generalized” one” (Schmidt, 1977, p. 38). Thus, to move, a person does not need to have experience in producing this very movement. It is enough to have certain experiences in producing similar movements. Admittedly, such a conventional illustration of a closed-loop action as catching a ball is better explained with the help of the schema theory. Admittedly, it is quite doubtful that a person produces this movement equally in all situations. However, irrespective of changing conditions (speed of the ball, trajectory, the person’s position, etc.); the person can catch the ball in the majority of cases. It is possible to state that this ability justifies the schema theory.
However, even this theory is incomplete and needs to be supported by one more theory. Dynamic systems theory is the necessary backup for the schema theory. According to the dynamic systems theory, any movement system is a certain network of smaller sub-systems. Therefore, any movement often includes some linear processes that are determined by several systems of the human body. Physical and mental skills and abilities are seen as intrinsic parts of the entire system.
This theory explains the variability of human movements. It is necessary to note that proprioception is regarded as one of the most important parts of motor learning. Proprioception is the ability of the brain to obtain and give information about the position of the body. Many researchers claim that the development of this sense will positively affect the learning of new motor skills.
As has been mentioned above, these theories help create a concise picture of what motor skills are and what learning motor skills apply. Each of these theories will help me in my future career as well as in my parenting. I will be able to help my children acquire new motor skills faster and more easily. Importantly, I will be able to develop proper programs. Practice will become more effective as I understand the processes which are incorporated.
Notably, I will try to promote my views on multitasking. I believe that multitasking is bad for learners when it presupposes two conceptual processes. Abaté (2009) stresses that learners fail to complete several (or even two) conceptual tasks at a time. Of course, I often listen to music while working on my papers (noteworthy, these are musical pieces that do not contain singing). However, I do not work on paper while talking on a phone or watching TV. Now I understand what makes me focus on one task only. I know that the human brain can carry out a linear process rather than several processes at a time. Dynamic system theory and schema theory have helped me understand these processes. Therefore, I will insist on learners focusing on one conceptual process at a time.
One of my short-term goals is to develop a specific program for me. This program will imply the acquisition of new motor skills (quite complicated motor skills). I am thinking of doing some sport, but I haven’t decided what exactly it will be. The development of the program and the acquisition of new motor skills will be the necessary evidence that I am capable of developing successful programs. It will also prove that I have grasped the major peculiarities of motor skills learning and teaching.
As has been mentioned above, I am not sure about the sport to choose but I am certain about the significant layout of my future program. In the first place, I will not choose a cooperative kind of sport. I want to focus on the development of my motor skills without being dependent on other team players. Of course, I will try to balance arousal and relaxation as I understand the importance of these two processes for learning motor skills.
On balance, it is necessary to note that there is no doubt that learning motor skills is an intrinsic part of human life. It is also clear that people have learned a lot about this process. Theories developed help practitioners work out specific ways to help learners. Such theories, as dynamic systems and schema theories, can be regarded as two parts of a whole. These theories supplement each other and provide helpful insights into the nature of motor skills learning. These theories have a variety of applications in the real life. Apart from being useful for educators, researchers, and trainers, theories can be valuable for future parents. Understanding the nature of motor skills learning will be useful in helping their children acquire new motor skills. Of course, this can also help any person acquire new motor skills more effectively.
Abaté, C. J. (2009) You say multitasking like it’s a good thing. National Education Association. Web.
Schmidt, R. A. (1977). Schema theory: Implications for movement education. Motor Skills: Theory into Practice, 2(1), 36-48.