chapter  9
20 Pages

Constraints-led learning in practice

Designing effective learning environments
WithIan Renshaw, Jonathon Headrick, Michael Maloney, Brendan Moy, Ross Pinder

The constraints-led approach has been proposed as a framework for describing and informing skill acquisition. The approach originated in the work of Newell who proposed that the co-adaptive interactions of three categories of constraints, namely task, environment and individual, enables learners to self-organise in attempts to generate effective movement solutions. Task constraints include such factors as the rules of the game, the equipment used, the current state of a game or specific rules, markings and boundaries, including the design and scaling of equipment along with instructions and feedback. Whilst a primary outcome when designing learning environments in sport is to ensure effective skill learning, a key concern is the psychological impact of what practitioners ask learners to do. Proponents of a constraints-led approach highlight the importance of individual-environment mutuality and propose that skill learning is framed around an enhanced fit between the individual and environment.