Aberdeen Township Sensory Motor Integration

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Empowered Learning Transformation Centers

Sensory-motor skills are an important category of learning in many tasks and occupations (not to mention all forms of sports). Motor skills can be classified as continuous (e.g. tracking), discrete, or procedural movements. The last category of skills are probably most relevant to real world applications such as typing, operating instruments, or maintenance.

 

Behavioral psychology (e.g., Guthrie, Hull, Skinner) emphasized practice variables in sensory-motor skills such as massed versus spaced practice, part versus whole task learning, and feedback/reinforcement schedules. Long-term retention of motor skills depends upon regular practice; however, continuous responses show less forgetting in the absence of practice than discrete or procedural skills. Repetition after task proficiency is achieved (overtraining) and refresher training reduce the effects of forgetting. Unlike verbal learning, sensory-motor learning appears to be the same under massed and spaced practice. Learning and retention of sensory-motor skills is improved by both the quantity and quality of feedback (knowledge of results) during training.

 

Sensory-motor skills based upon information processing theory. This framework emphasizes the importance of feedback in correcting motor behavior and selective attention in determining what actions are taken. Empowered Learning Transformation Centers suggests two ways in which learning/teaching of motor skills can be facilitated: (1) slow down the rate at which information is presented, and (2) reducing the amount of information that needs to processed.

 

The importance of prompting and guidance while learning motor skills relative to trial and error or discovery strategies. Empowered Learning Transformation Centers research suggests that some form of guided learning seems most appropriate when high proficiency on a new skill is involved. On the other hand, if the task is to be recalled and transferred to a new situation, then some type of problem-solving strategy may be better. In addition, guided learning may be most effective in early training while trial and error is important in advanced training. Singer suggests that the choice of instructional strategy for motor skills should depend upon the purpose and nature of the task.

 

There is evidence that mental rehearsal, especially involving imagery, facilitates performance. This may be because it allows additional memory processing related to physical tasks (e.g., the formation of schema) or because it maintains arousal or motivation for an activity.

 

 

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