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Fitts and Poseners

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Describe "Fitt's and Posner's" phases of learning and explain how you would structure practices to enhance performance. 'Fitts and Posner' (1967) were interested in the changes and phases that learners go through when acquiring a skill. Their stages of learning are a series of practices and learning exercises that will help people to learn specific skills by viewing others doing so. For this they came up with 3 phases of learning that they believed all learners must go through when developing a skill. The following two definitions of learning and practice show that they are both linked: * 'Learning is a more or less permanent change in performance brought about by experience' - Knapp 1973 * Practice - repeated exercise in an activity requiring the development of skill. Dictionary definition. This means that you can't learn without practicing, therefore if you practice, you will learn. If you practice an exercise correctly, your performance should reflect your efforts. Although moving straight from learning a skill, to being able to perform it perfectly every time, is impossible, and this is where Fitt's and Posner's phases of learning come in. The Fitt's and Posner's 3 phases of learning are, cognitive, associative and autonomous. The three stages must be learnt in the same order; each stage must be learnt before moving onto the next. ...read more.


Closed drills are very helpful here as they have low pressure with a consistent environment, such as in football a player may do shuttles or dribble a ball around a cone, at their own pace. Once this phase has been completed, the performer can move on to the next phase. The next phase a learner moves on to is the associative stage. This is where the learner practices a skill with verbal feedback and guidance from a coach. At this phase the learner shows a lot more consistency and their coordination improves rapidly. Also improvements such as timing are shown. Here the learner will produce basic mechanics of the skill and make associations with previously learned material, allowing a small degree of transfer e.g. the skill of a netball shot transferred to be used in a basketball shot. The help from the coach is a very important part as they must identify the exact problem and instruct the learner as to how to correct it. One method used by a coach is the whole- part- whole method where you play a game, stop play, focus on an error, and then improve this area in a match situation again. An example of this would be in a football match if part of the play needs correcting then the game will be stopped and the problem will be focussed on e.g. corners and then will be put back in to the game again. ...read more.


E.g. passing a football to a friend or using the same skill in a match situation where there are an unlimited number of options in which to play the ball to beat the opposition and complete a pass to a teammate. The performer therefore should use variable, but realistic practices such as passing, shooting and movement drills in netball, to make this possible. In this phase movements are smoother and more efficient, therefore more attention can be given to relevant cues and signals from the environment, as less mental capacity are needed to carry out the skill itself. The performer by now also recognises their own mistakes and errors and is capable of correcting them themselves with little or no help. A coach will be there to help the performer and to improve aspects of the skill. In conclusion, Fitt's and Posner's phases of learning can be considered as important for structuring any sporting practice. All learning seems to develop through these phases. As you progress through each stage you improve in ability, skill and awareness. During these stages to help you improve there are also certain drills and factors such as videos and the use of role models that are so vital in the progression of learning and improvements. However, Fitt and Posner fail to realise that some learners may already have the ability to perform the first stage of learning. Therefore, practices should take this into account, and these individuals used as demonstrators. ...read more.

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