The Learning Process
San Diego Figure Skating Communications
a non-profit educational organization
Acquiring a Physical Skill
There are different ways to look at the learning process that range from a simple and very basic model to those that are more complex. Choose the one that fits your needs.
A Basic Model of Learning
The Beginning Stage
The beginning stage of learning is the thinking stage where the athlete is visualizing and mentally working out what they are about to do.
As the coach, you must explain very clearly to athletes the skills they are to learn. It is imperative to be very patient in this stage.
The athlete will be overwhelmed:
The athlete completes the beginning stage when they can perform the skill, even though it is not performed perfectly.
The Intermediate Stage
The intermediate stage is the next level in learning. In this stage the body is transferring the task learned in the beginning stage to an short-term muscle/nerve memory response.
The emphasis should be on the quality of practice to refine skills and eliminate errors. The shift is from mental activity to learning the automatic sequencing of movements of a master the skill.
Learners need to know what they are doing incorrectly and how they can make corrections. Feedback is vital importance at this stage. The athlete needs to be motivated and given feedback on his/her skill development.
Athletes must pay careful attention to details at this stage as they are refining their timing and coordination. As the skill becomes more automatic, the athlete has entered the advanced stage.
The Advanced Stage
The advanced stage is when the athlete is performing the skill at an automatic level as a long-term muscle/nerve memory response. The athlete is not thinking about each and every small detail of the body's movement as it performs the task.
The athlete can now focus on more critical skills and applying skill to relate parts of figure skating. Improvement in this level is smaller and requires more internal and external motivation for the athlete to maintain a high standard of practicing.
An athlete may be at different learning stages at the same time. For example, at the advanced stage for one skill and at the beginning or intermediate stage for another skill. Your success is in being able to determine where your athlete is at various learning stages and target the most effective instruction, motivation, and feedback to achieve success for each task.
Different Learning Models
Illustrate How Learning Occurs
A Three Stage Psychological Model
Four stage psychological model
According to a classic psychological model of how individual learning occurs, before we acquire any skill we must go through four stages of learning or competence. A four stage model includes the following:
Don't allow yourself to become discouraged because you find you are outside of your comfort zone. There is no other way to improve except by applying yourself to the tasks at hand. Learning anything that is worth doing will require time and energy to stretch your existing physical and mental limits. However, it is a necessary part of the process if you plan on taking on even greater challenges in the future.
You have acquired the skills and no longer have to think about performing the skill or task because it's automatic and occurs at an unconsciously level.
Acquiring new skills and modifying or changing existing skills is an ongoing process. Everyone strives to incorporate positive habits, thinking, and behaviors by utilizing this learning process to reduce the obstacles we struggle to deal with on a daily basis. Don't think in terms of obstacles, think in terms of opportunities and ways to improve yourself.
Classifications of Motor Skills
Precision of Movement:
movements are those
that involve large muscle
coordination such as jumping.
Fine movements involve precise control of small muscles such as ballet.
The Environment or Competitive
Open tasks are when the athlete has to react to their location on the ice surface. For example, running out of room to finish the MITF pattern or waiting too long to jump and hitting the barrier.
Closed tasks does not require the skater to focus as much of their location on the ice. For example, the choreography situates the spin in the center of the ice. The environment is stable, so the athlete can concentrate on executing the movement rather than worrying about being too close to the barrier.
Beginning and Ending Points of a Skill:
tasks have distinct
beginning and ending points. A step or spiral sequence must have a
recognizable starting and ending points.
Serial skills consist of a string of discrete skills performed in sequence. A set of turns and/or steps that fulfill the footwork requirement before the execution of a specific jump in a short program.
arbitrary beginning and end points. Free skating programs have
a specific amount of time allocated for each event level. In higher
events there are specific time constraints for short and long
programs with some differences for ladies and men's events. Endurance/stamina
and a high aerobic capacity are very important to completing the last
elements in a program with the emotional and physical energy matching
the beginning of the program.
Training variation of practice activities are varied by intensity and different levels of classes to promote learning and prevents staleness/learning plateaus.
As athletes acquire the fundamental movements of a skill, the variation in practices helps expose them to performing under simulated test/competition conditions that require adjustments in the execution and context of the required test elements and elective elements for a competition.
The following examples demonstrate ideas of how practice variation can be used in preparing for a test or competition:
4 Stages of Learning - Cooperative Learning June 7, 2010 4 Stages of Learning. mcaers. Author: mcaers. There are 4 stages that everyone will pass through during the learning process.
The Four Stages of Learning - Process Coaching Understanding the four stages of learning a skill can help keep the learning process focused on learning to do something, and not feeling bad about ourselves.
Conscious competence learning model matrix - four stage learning process model plus other free personal and organizational development tools, examples, templates, etc.
Skill Development Fitts and Posner (1967) suggested that the three phase learning process is sequential and that we move through specific phases as we learn.
PDF Six Stages for Learning to Use Technology using a relevant activity combined with an understanding of stages a learner typically goes through during the learning process has not been considered.
The five stages that learners go through in an e-learning program UNIT 3: Gilly Salmon, Professor of E-learning and Learning Technologies at the University of Leicester, has identified five stages of online interaction. According to Salmon (2004), each stage requires different types of support from e-tutors. Gilly Salmon's s five stage model can be found on the web and in her book on E-moderating. Stage 1 - Access & Motivation | Stage 2 - Socialisation |
Stage 3 - Information Exchange | | Stage 4 - Knowledge Construction | Stage 5 - Development
The following internet links have been gleaned from personal communications
combined with information from public institutions and athletic organizations/
associations that have a web presence with information concerning team and
individual sports programs:
All materials are copy protected.
The limited use of the materials for education purposes is allowed providing
credit is given for the source of the materials.