Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Ben Sidaway

Second Advisor

Amelia Lee


Verbal instructions, modeling, videotaped replay (VTR), and knowledge of performance (KP) are augmented learning variables that practitioners commonly present to learners to facilitate the acquisition of motor skill. Two experiments are reported that sought to determine how each of these variables affect skill acquisition and the cognitive representations responsible for producing such skill. Learning variables were classified as pre-response (verbal instructions and modeling) or post-response (VTR and KP), depending whether the information given pertained to the subsequent trial or the previous trial, respectively. Experiment 1 investigated the effects of each variable separately, while Experiment 2 examined whether a combination of pre-response and post-response information resulted in greater learning than pre-response information only. Measures of accuracy and movement patterns were taken as novice subjects learned to hit a whiffle golf ball onto a target circle. Tests of declarative knowledge, visual recognition, and free recall were administered and analyzed for relationships with the dependent measures. Results from Experiment 1 indicated that subjects who received verbal instructions or modeling achieved higher accuracy scores under retention conditions than those who received videotaped replay or no information, while group differences for movement pattern retention scores were difficult to discern. In addition, visual recognition ability was found to be significantly related to accuracy and movement pattern production, while free recall was associated with movement patterns only. Results from Experiment 2 revealed that skill learning was greater when subjects were presented with both pre-and post-response information than when pre-response information was presented alone. In addition, KP was found superior to no-feedback conditions for accuracy and movement pattern scores, while VTR was found superior to no-feedback conditions only for accuracy scores. Tests of cognitive representation showed that declarative knowledge was a significant predictor of movement pattern production. No significant interactions resulted between pre-response and post-response learning variables. Taken together, these experiments indicate that greatest motor skill learning will occur when novices are presented with task-descriptive information that improves understanding of the task along with performance-based feedback that informs the learner about the previous response.