Things to Consider Regarding the Stages of Learning
- Transitions between learning stages cannot be clearly delineated. - One stage blends into the next. - A learner can be in different stages for learning different skills. - Stages of learning are not dependent on age.

Models of Stages of Learning
- Fitts and Posner's three-stage model - Gentile's two-stage model
Learner at the Cognitive Stage
- Introduced to a new motor skill - Develops an understanding of the movement's requirements - Attempts numerous techniques and strategies; a trial-and-error approach - Reformulates past movement experiences in an effort to solve the current movement problem - Needs guidance to detect and correct errors
Learner at the Associative Stage
- Is committed to refining one particular movement pattern - Performs more consistently, with fewer errors - Is better at detecting errors and developing strategies to eliminate them - Needs constructive practice experiences and effective feedback from practitioner
Learner at the Autonomous Stage
- Can perform a skill proficiently - Can perform multiple tasks simultaneously - Performs consistently and confidently, with few errors - Can detect and correct those errors that are made - May become discouraged and unmotivated if proficiency comes slowly - Practitioner serves as motivator
Getting the Idea of the Movement
- Learner's goal: - Develop an understanding of movement requirements and the environment in which task is to be performed - Organize a corresponding movement - Instruction and practice should facilitate the development of a basic movement pattern.
Fixation/Diversification Stage
- Learner's goal: Refinement of the skill - Fixation: - Closed skills - Example: Performing on a balance beam - Diversification: - Open skills - Closed skills with inter-trial variability - Example: Shooting a hockey puck from various angles and positions; golf putting
Inferring Progress Indicators That Learning Has Occurred
- Movement pattern - Attention - Knowledge and memory - Error detection and correction - Self-confidence
Improvements in Movement Pattern
- Increase in coordination and control - More fluid muscle activity - More efficient energy expenditure - Increased consistency
Paying Attention
- Attention to skill execution: - As skill proficiency develops, the need to attend consciously to each aspect of the movement decreases—and performance becomes virtually automatic. - Allocation of visual attention: Skilled performers direct attention to relevant areas. Beginners have difficulty discriminating between relevant and irrelevant cues.
Measuring Progress
- Performance curves: - Negatively accelerating curve - Positively accelerating curve - Linear curve - S-shaped curve - Retention tests - Transfer tests
Limitations of Performance Curves
- Represent temporary effects and cannot establish relative permanence. - Constructed from measurements that are often obtained by calculating the mean of several trials.

- Each trial could be very different.

Performance Plateaus
- Period of time during the learning process in which no obvious changes in performance occur. - May be a transitional period in the learning process. Not necessarily an indication that learner has stopped learning. - Possible reasons: - Fatigue, anxiety, lack of motivation - Limitations in type of performance measurement being used