Successful transfer of a learning strategy to a novel sporting task

Kearney, P. and Judge, P. Successful transfer of a learning strategy to a novel sporting task. Journal of Sports Sciences. ISSN 0264-0414

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The Five Step Learning Strategy (FSLS) has been demonstrated to enhance the learning of novice adults and children on a range of closed motor skills (Lidor, R. & Singer, R. N. [2005]. In D. Hackfort, J. L. Duda, & R. Lidor (Eds.) Handbook of Research in Applied Sport and Exercise Psychology: International Perspectives (pp. 109-126). Morgantown, WV: Fitness Information Technology). It is not known, however, whether children taught the FSLS can retain the knowledge of the strategy over a prolonged interval, and then successfully apply the strategy on a novel task. Understanding children’s capacity to retain and independently apply the strategy would provide useful guidance for PE teachers and coaches who wish to enhance the quality of their practice sessions. Twenty children (mean age 14.5 years) were randomly allocated to a FSLS group or a control group. All children received three one hour practice sessions on a modified basketball shooting task delivered by the lead researcher. In addition, children in the FSLS group were taught the strategy while those in the control group received information on the history of the free throw. One month after this initial acquisition phase, the children’s regular PE teacher introduced the children to the transfer task (golf putting) during a PE lesson. For all tasks, performance accuracy, completion times, and questionnaires regarding thoughts and strategies during practice were recorded. The children in the FSLS group also completed a questionnaire testing their knowledge of the FSLS at the end of the acquisition and transfer phases. The FSLS group performed more accurately on both the acquisition and transfer tasks (P’s < 0.05). In addition, the completion time for the FSLS group was significantly longer than that of the control group on both tasks (P’s < 0.05), suggesting that the FSLS group implemented the strategy. Questionnaire results indicated that children in the FSLS group applied the majority of steps on both acquisition and transfer (acquisition median = 5 steps, transfer median = 4 steps), while recall of the individual steps varied from 90-100% after acquisition, and from 70-100% after retention. In conclusion, children taught the FSLS successfully recalled and applied the strategy after a retention interval of one month, and in so doing demonstrated superior performance on both acquisition and transfer tasks relative to a control group. PE teachers and coaches should consider introducing the FSLS as a means of enhancing the learning of closed motor skills.

Publication Type: Articles
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
Divisions: Academic Areas > Institute of Sport > Area > Exercise Physiology
Depositing User: Philip Kearney
Date Deposited: 04 Aug 2015 14:11
Last Modified: 04 Aug 2015 14:11

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