EXERSCI 205 : Motor Learning


2022 Semester Two (1225) (15 POINTS)

Course Prescription

Introduction to the principles and stages of motor skill acquisition, and their application to sport and exercise. Key concepts include the structure of practice tasks, feedback, individual differences, growth and development, aging, injury, and relationships to the underlying neurobiology. Develops practical skills in the measurement of human motor performance, and in the development and assessment of individualised training programmes to improve skill.

Course Overview

The objective of EXERSCI  205 Motor Learning is to provide undergraduate students theoretical and practical knowledge relating to motor learning and skill acquisition in relation to sport, exercise, and clinical practice. At the end of this course, students will be able to explain motor learning processes and stages, and apply them to develop skill practice sessions in the context of a sport, exercise or clinical consultation. Practical experiences will include assessment of motor performance, the effects of different practice strategies, and the development and prescription of motor skill practice regimes for specific real world scenarios.

EXERSCI 205 is a core course in the Exercise Sciences programme, but also suitable for non-Exercise Science students who are also interested in the teaching, learning and assessment of motor skills. Potentially interested groups, in addition to budding exercise scientists, will include physical educators, psychologists, dancers, and musicians. EXERSCI 205 complements (but is not an exclusive prerequisite for) EXERSCI 305 Movement Neuroscience, which explores the neurobiological basis of motor control and movement disorders.

Course Requirements

No pre-requisites or restrictions

Capabilities Developed in this Course

Capability 1: Disciplinary Knowledge and Practice
Capability 2: Critical Thinking
Capability 3: Solution Seeking
Capability 4: Communication and Engagement
Graduate Profile: Bachelor of Science

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this course, students will be able to:
  1. Describe stages of motor learning and skill acquisition and relate these to a practical example (Capability 1 and 4)
  2. Explain the role of feedback and attention in the motor learning process, and be able to use these optimally to augment the learning process (Capability 1, 2 and 3)
  3. Explain the effect of different practice structures on motor learning, and be able to plan and implement these structures in a practice programme (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  4. Assess motor learning by quantitative measurement of the performance of a motor skill (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  5. Use theoretical frameworks to design and implement an individualized training/practice programme for a motor skill, tailored to their developmental stage and physical capacity (Capability 1, 2, 3 and 4)
  6. Describe fundamental neurobiological mechanisms by which learning occurs (Capability 1)


Assessment Type Percentage Classification
Quizzes 10% Individual Coursework
Written test 10% Individual Test
Final Exam 20% Individual Examination
Assignments 60% Group & Individual Coursework
Assessment Type Learning Outcome Addressed
1 2 3 4 5 6
Written test
Final Exam


Exercise Sciences has a dedicated Tuākana space at the City Campus 301-183 [1]. Exercise Sciences Tuākana space consists of several personal computers, a collection of prescribed textbooks of Exercise Sciences courses, personal study and relaxing areas with access to shared kitchen facilities. Tuākana students [2] enrolled in any Exercise Sciences course are most welcome to make use of these facilities, not only to support their learning but also to build whanaungatanga. Feel free to contact Waruna, the Exercise Sciences Tuākana coordinator, on waruna.w@auckland.ac.nz for any questions.
If there is interest from the students, we will establish an EXERSCI 205 Tuākana community with sessions to share course-related experiences.
[1] https://maps.auckland.ac.nz/wayfinding?type=poi&selectedLocation=1000021002
[2] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/academic-learning-support/tuakana.html

Key Topics

  1. Measuring motor performance and error
  2. Decision making and information processing
  3. Skill acquisition, retention, and transfer
  4. Attention and performance
  5. Feedback
  6. Motor programs
  7. Structure of practice
  8. Motor learning through the lifespan

Special Requirements

The lab component of the course involves taking measurements of humans performing movements. These labs are approved by University of Auckland Human Participants Ethics Committee. Since this is a science course, involvement in the labs is compulsory but students have the choice, in each lab, to act as either the participant or researcher. All students are encouraged to act as participants at some point during the course.

Workload Expectations

This course is a standard 15 point course and students are expected to spend 10 hours per week involved in each 15 point course that they are enrolled in.

For this course, you can expect 2 hours of lectures per week, a 2-hour lab every two weeks, 4 hours of reading and thinking about the content and 3 hours of work on assignments and/or test preparation.

Delivery Mode

Campus Experience

Under normal (non-COVID-affected) conditions, attendance is required at scheduled activities including labs to complete components of the course. Lectures will be available as recordings. Other learning activities including labs will not be available as recordings. Attendance on campus is required for the test and exam.
The activities for the course are scheduled as a standard weekly timetable.

Learning Resources

Course materials are made available in a learning and collaboration tool called Canvas which also includes reading lists and lecture recordings (where available).

Please remember that the recording of any class on a personal device requires the permission of the instructor.

Student Feedback

During the course Class Representatives in each class can take feedback to the staff responsible for the course and staff-student consultative committees.

At the end of the course students will be invited to give feedback on the course and teaching through a tool called SET or Qualtrics. The lecturers and course co-ordinators will consider all feedback.

Your feedback helps to improve the course and its delivery for all students.

Academic Integrity

The University of Auckland will not tolerate cheating, or assisting others to cheat, and views cheating in coursework as a serious academic offence. The work that a student submits for grading must be the student's own work, reflecting their learning. Where work from other sources is used, it must be properly acknowledged and referenced. This requirement also applies to sources on the internet. A student's assessed work may be reviewed against online source material using computerised detection mechanisms.

Class Representatives

Class representatives are students tasked with representing student issues to departments, faculties, and the wider university. If you have a complaint about this course, please contact your class rep who will know how to raise it in the right channels. See your departmental noticeboard for contact details for your class reps.


The content and delivery of content in this course are protected by copyright. Material belonging to others may have been used in this course and copied by and solely for the educational purposes of the University under license.

You may copy the course content for the purposes of private study or research, but you may not upload onto any third party site, make a further copy or sell, alter or further reproduce or distribute any part of the course content to another person.

Inclusive Learning

All students are asked to discuss any impairment related requirements privately, face to face and/or in written form with the course coordinator, lecturer or tutor.

Student Disability Services also provides support for students with a wide range of impairments, both visible and invisible, to succeed and excel at the University. For more information and contact details, please visit the Student Disability Services’ website http://disability.auckland.ac.nz

More information on support services available from the University can be found at https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support.html.
Any student who has difficulty affording groceries or accessing sufficient food to eat every day, or who lacks a safe and stable place to live, and believes this may affect their performance in the course, is urged to contact the AUSA Welfare team (welfare@ausa.org.nz) for support. Furthermore, if you are comfortable doing so, please notify the course director, who will provide assistance where possible.

Special Circumstances

If your ability to complete assessed coursework is affected by illness or other personal circumstances outside of your control, contact a member of teaching staff as soon as possible before the assessment is due.

If your personal circumstances significantly affect your performance, or preparation, for an exam or eligible written test, refer to the University’s aegrotat or compassionate consideration page https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/academic-information/exams-and-final-results/during-exams/aegrotat-and-compassionate-consideration.html.

This should be done as soon as possible and no later than seven days after the affected test or exam date.

This course is run in accordance with principles of equity (rather than equality), recognizing that each student's circumstances, extra-curricular burdens, and needs are different. Deadlines are helpful to maintain consistent workload throughout the semester, to help manage marking loads for the teaching team, and to enable the return of feedback from which students can learn (as you'll learn in this course!). If, however, your personal situation affects your ability to perform or complete work by the due dates in this course, please get in touch with the course coordinator so that we can identify ways to make the course work for you.
Key points:
  • Usually, reasonable requests made before the work is due (NOT retrospectively) will be granted.
  • Proof may be required of the reason for the request (e.g. a medical certificate). This can be done through Student Health and Counselling Services [1]
  • Extensions can only be granted by the course coordinator.
[1] https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/student-support/personal-support/student-health-counselling.html

Learning Continuity

In the event of an unexpected disruption, we undertake to maintain the continuity and standard of teaching and learning in all your courses throughout the year. If there are unexpected disruptions the University has contingency plans to ensure that access to your course continues and course assessment continues to meet the principles of the University’s assessment policy. Some adjustments may need to be made in emergencies. You will be kept fully informed by your course co-ordinator/director, and if disruption occurs you should refer to the university website for information about how to proceed.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

The delivery mode may change depending on COVID restrictions. Any changes will be communicated through Canvas.

Student Charter and Responsibilities

The Student Charter assumes and acknowledges that students are active participants in the learning process and that they have responsibilities to the institution and the international community of scholars. The University expects that students will act at all times in a way that demonstrates respect for the rights of other students and staff so that the learning environment is both safe and productive. For further information visit Student Charter https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/forms-policies-and-guidelines/student-policies-and-guidelines/student-charter.html.


Elements of this outline may be subject to change. The latest information about the course will be available for enrolled students in Canvas.

In this course students may be asked to submit coursework assessments digitally. The University reserves the right to conduct scheduled tests and examinations for this course online or through the use of computers or other electronic devices. Where tests or examinations are conducted online remote invigilation arrangements may be used. In exceptional circumstances changes to elements of this course may be necessary at short notice. Students enrolled in this course will be informed of any such changes and the reasons for them, as soon as possible, through Canvas.

Published on 09/11/2021 10:35 a.m.