Stages of Learning
This chapter reviews the characteristics that distinguish between performance and learning. Recall that learning results in a relatively permanent change in a person's capability to execute a motor skill, whereas performance is simply the act of executing a skill. When developing motor skill proficiency, regardless of whether in alpine skiing or re-learning how to walk after a serious accident, learners progress through various stages. Several models have been proposed, each examining the progression from beginner to expert from a different perspective. The three models are the cognitive stage named for its high degree of cognitive activity; the associative stage characterized by marked performance improvements and Fitts and Posner's model, and the autonomous stage requires countless hours of practice. Once the learner has reached the fixation/diversification stage, the instructional strategies employed will depend on whether the skill is open or closed. Additional research is necessary to explore the interaction of task constraints and skill level for variations in coordination.