Motor Learning Strategy: The Five-Step Approach

Motor Learning Strategy Five Step ApproachMotor Learning Strategy: The Five-Step Approach

As pediatric therapists, we constantly utilize motor learning strategies to help children acquire new motor skills.  One motor learning strategy that has been heavily researched is Singer’s Five-Step Approach.  This approach to learning a new motor task consists of the following five steps:

Step One – Readying:  The learner adopts a mechanical, attitudinal, and emotional position for delivering a high-quality attempt at the new motor task. This step may involve adopting a particular posture, completing preparatory activities such as a practice swing, or a breathing exercise.

Step Two – Imaging:  The learner uses visual or kinesthetic imagery for the desired action or outcome.

Step Three – Focusing: The learner focuses his or her attention on one relevant cue or feature of the task, blocking out all distractions.

Step Four – Executing: The learner attempts to execute the skill without consciously guiding the movement.  Just do the motor task without thinking about it.

Step Five – Evaluating:  The learner must evaluate the performance and how effectively steps 1-4 were applied.  Determine what to adjust when completing the motor task again.

The Five-Step Approach has been shown to be effective in a range of tasks, with various populations and with children and adults.  In addition, studies have indicated that once taught this approach, learners can transfer the strategy to learning a new novel motor task.  Recent research even indicates that learners who were taught the five-step learning strategy successfully recalled and applied it after a 1-month interval, and they demonstrated superior performance on both acquisition and transfer tasks, relative to the control group (Kearney & Judge, 2017).

When you are teaching a new motor skill, such as catching, throwing or higher level gross motor skills such as skipping, perhaps give the Five -Step Approach a try.

References:

Kearney, P. E., & Judge, P. (2017). Successful Transfer of a Motor Learning Strategy to a Novel Sport. Perceptual and Motor Skills, 0031512517719189.

Singer, R. N. (1988). Strategies and metastrategies in learning and performing selfpaced athletic skills. The Sport Psychologist, 2, 49–68. Retrieved from: http:///www.humankinetics.com/tsp

Singer, R. N., & Cauraugh, J. H. (1985). The generalizability effect of learning strategies for categories of psychomotor skills. Quest, 37, 103–119. doi:10.1080/00336297.1985.10483824

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Motor Learning Strategy Five Step Approach