Cognition and context: Revisiting skill learning through a multi- disciplinary approach

Year: 1994

Author: Macdonald, Doune, Kirk, David, Abernethy, Bruce, Brooker, Ross

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

With the trend for increasing specialisation and fragmentation of knowledge, similar theories of learning have developed in different academic fields. This paper is intended to initiate discussion about the learning of physical skills (for instance, those which form the substance of physical education in schools) by drawing on contemporary analyses and trends in motor learning, cognitive psychology, socio-cultural studies and physical education pedagogy. Thus, it is an attempt to begin a process of synthesising the trends in these different fields which may form the basis of a future research program.

Of particular interest is the influence of the context in which learning occurs. Curriculum innovations in physical education, such as Teaching Games for Understanding, Sport Education, and the Queensland Board of Senior Secondary School Studies Trial Physical Education Syllabus, have each foregrounded the importance of the socio-cultural- ecological context of and for learning, yet the relationship between the context and cognitive dimensions of learning is poorly understood.

While skill learning in physical education is the focus, our deliberations may be applied equally to other dimensions of education such as those within music, dance, manual arts, and computer and technical studies.