The Psychomotor Domain

"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." Aristotle Psychomotor learning is described by Gagné as "coordinated muscular movements that are typified by smoothness and precise timing". Psychomotor skill development is very important because it works hand in hand with cognitive thinking. The skills required are physical in nature, and the individual must “think about” what he/she is doing – at least at first. Three Classification of Psychomotor Learning 1. Discrete vs. continuous Discrete has a distinct beginning and ending points. It has single or very few steps to solving the problem. Continuous has a beginning and ending point but are more difficult for the learner. 2. Close vs. open a. Closed - not influenced from the environment. b. Opened - influenced from the environment. 3. Person vs. object motion Type I - person and the object at rest (driving a golf ball) Type II - person is at rest and object is in motion (hitting a baseball) Type III - person in motion and object is at rest (shooting a lay-up) Type IV - person in motion and object is in motion (aiming at an aircraft from a bobbing ship) Three Critical Elements of Psychomotor Skills 1. Massed vs. spaced practice a. Massed – all-at-once; very intense practicing with little chance to rest. b. Spaced - shorter practice periods; many of them over time. 2. Whole vs. part practice a. Whole - practicing all skills needed b. Part - break down each skill and master one before going on to the next step. 3. Feedback issues a. Proprioceptive feedback - feedback that is gathered internally (body position). b. External – external feedback provided by a teacher or coach.

3. Object-motor: such as typing. Language-motor: such as writing. “Unlearning” a skill is very difficult.g. acting.” which often creates bad habits that later have to be unlearned. playing a musical instrument (1 and 3). However. riding a bicycle. e. operating machines 2. There may be overlap between these groups. Plateaus may occur as learners progress from one level of the psychomotor domain to the next higher level. playing tennis. Some ideas about skill-learning 1.Teaching in the Psychomotor Domain Psychomotor learning refers to learning skills that involve physical movement ("motor") as well as a mental ("psycho") component. fatigue. shorthand. perfect practice makes perfect. The repetition establishes habit. Most of the literature suggests that spaced practice is better than massed practice. 5. Three main groups of psychomotor learning are: 1. Motor skills are often divided into two categories: 1. thread a needle. Practice is an essential element in skill acquisition. complexity of material to be learned. dancing. etc. Once acquired to the point of automaticity. Very precise analysis of the task and very careful description of the skills can help you evaluate student performance. and warn them against . reading. Therefore it is important to avoid “trial and error learning.).). Singing (2 and 3). run. but not predictably or with the same pattern or frequency for every learner. Fine motor: Precise control of small muscle groups (paint. Teachers should help students take advantage of positive transfer. flagging motivation. a skill is believed to be a manifestation of subconscious thought processes. Incorrect practice can interfere with the learner's progress. knowledge of results. jump. Tell your learners about plateaus. that can be both reinforcing and motivating. need to practice. learning a foreign language 3. so that they don't get discouraged if their progress seems to slow down or stall. Several factors are involved. Transfer of learning can be positive (helpful) or negative (hindering). Learning plateaus seem to occur in most skill learning. or writing (1 and 2). 2. It can be difficult to distinguish the stage to which a skill has been mastered. it is important that the practice be guided: practice does not make perfect. painting a picture. Practice also provides feedback. Feeling-motor: such as playing a musical instrument. etc. 2. Gross motor: Controlling large muscle groups (walk. 4.

Reading music is common to learning different instruments. compare. Do the learners have the necessary prerequisites: knowledge of what should be done. similar. adapt. repeat. hear. etc. To imitate. match. This readiness or preparatory adjustment may be mental. physical or emotional. taste. more integrated pattern of work? 4. Guided Response Overt behavioural act of an individual under guidance of an instructor. 2. May include imitation of another person. scan. Simpson (1972) describes seven categories. etc by way of senses. These are described below with examples of the action verbs for stating the learning objectives in italics: 1. etc. or have they started to "automatise" the skill? 5. comprehend. correct. identify. in correct sequence? 3. and how? Have they required perceptual awareness? 2.negative transfer. To identify. Is their performance still jumpy and step-by-step. qualities. notice. locate. Set Readiness for a particular kind of action or experience. select. associate. cue selection. feel. organise. 3. or following model or set criteria. select. etc. practise. performing all necessary steps. translation. Perception The process of becoming aware of objects. or have they started to transfer control to senses other than the eyes and achieve a smoother. recognise. smell. why. arrange. To recognise. Basic in situation-interpretation-action chain leading to motor activity. listen. Stages of skill acquisition Romiszowski suggests that learners be observed for progress through the following stages of skill development: 1. reproduce. Do they still have to concentrate on the execution of the skill to the exclusion of all else. To what extent are they capable of variety? Can they generalize the newly learned skills to other. . simulate. May include sensory stimulation. adjust. making previously learned responses on one machine inappropriate or even dangerous on another. or trial and eror until appropriate response obtained. inspect. situations? To what extent are they being creative in the execution of the skill? How well are they planning the execution of the skill activity? Several attempts have been made to define a hierarchy or "taxonomy" of psychomotor learning. Are the learners applying what they know. Different positioning of the controls on two different machines can cause negative transfer. respond. and provides positive transfer.

4. 7. To assemble. To manipulate. done with great ease and muscle control. alter. mould. design. Mechanism Occurs when a learned response has become habitual. order. manipulate. The skill has become part of his/her repertoire of possible responses to stimulus and demands of situations. abilities and understandings developed in the psychomotor area. Reigeluth. Washington. Simpson E. To adjust. etc. adapt. A (1999) The Development of Physical Skills: Instruction in the Psychomotor Domain. integrate. Instructional Design Theories and Models: A New Paradigm of Instructional Theory. DC: Gryphon House . To create. integrate. shape. Adaptation Altering motor activities or skills to meet demands of specific problematic situations. C. M. Often includes a resolution of uncertainty. Chapter 19. correct. mix. etc. etc. coordinate. the action is done without hesitation. J. At this level the learner has achieved certain confidence and proficiency of performance. set-up. the learner requires no guidance. Complex Overt Response Performance of a motor act that is considered complex because of the movement pattern required. standardize. formulate. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. Origination Creating new motor acts or ways of manipulating materials out of skills. adjust. invent. regulate. The Classification of Educational Objectives in the Psychomotor Domain. etc. is finely coordinated. Romiszowski. NJ. 6. construct. (1972). 5. Mahwah. develop. combine. Volume II. fasten. convert.

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