Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard A. Magill


This study investigated the informational nature of a modeled visual demonstration of slalom-ski type movements performed on a ski simulator. Hypotheses exist suggesting that a model may convey information primarily about movement coordination (Newell, 1985), or movement form (Whiting, 1988), but there is no empirical evidence that this information is used by the learner so that skill acquisition is facilitated. To investigate this information question, three experiments were conducted that replicated and extended a study by Whiting, Bijlard, and den Brinker (1987) by analyzing movement kinematics of subjects in addition to movement outcome. In the first experiment, the expert model's performance was analyzed. The second and third experiment investigated the acquisition of slalom-ski type movements for groups that observed the expert model on all 5 days, groups that observed the model only on day 1, and groups that learned the skill under discovery learning conditions. Results of movement outcome variables platform amplitude and frequency revealed that observing a model was advantageous over discovery learning. Analysis of movement kinematics suggested that the expert model may have conveyed information about the relative motion of torso and limbs, or movement coordination, that facilitated the acquisition of the slalom-ski type movements. Results further suggested that the coordination information the model may have conveyed was used early in learning, and that observing a model during later stages of learning was of no further benefit.