Credit points



EXSC187 Growth, Motor Development and Ageing

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

The ability to design, deliver and evaluate protocols and programs for motor learning and skill acquisition, based on theoretical and best practice approaches, to meet the specific health, fitness and/or sporting goals of clients, is central to exercise science practice. This unit is designed to provide students with a detailed understanding of the major theoretical concepts of motor control and learning. The emphasis is on developing students' ability to structure effective situations in acquisition, retention, and transfer of motor skill, based on the scientific evidence. This will be facilitated through an understanding of the role of instruction, demonstration, practice conditions, feedback and mental practice in the learning continuum. The aim of this unit is to develop knowledge, understanding and competency in motor control and skill acquisition consistent with the professional standards of several accreditation bodies, including those for Exercise Science, including the ability to integrate these knowledge and skills with other sub-disciplines in exercise science practice.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the Attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

Learning Outcome NumberLearning Outcome Description
LO1Demonstrate an understanding of the theories of motor control as they relate to environments, protocols and processes for motor learning and skill acquisition
LO2Describe biological and behavioural characteristics of motor control as they relate to the development of and change in functional skills.
LO3Select and conduct assessments of motor learning and function relevant to professional practice in exercise science.
LO4Design, deliver and evaluate protocols and programs for effective motor learning and skill acquisition.


Topics will include: 

  • Classification and measurement of motor skills and abilities 
  • Theoretical foundations in motor control and learning 
  • Motor control characteristics of functional skills 
  • Action preparation 
  • Memory, attention and information processing 
  • Learning: stages, assessment / Transfer of learning 
  • Instruction and observational learning 
  • Augmented feedback 
  • Practice composition  
  • Practice Scheduling 
  • Mental Practice 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit fosters student-centred active learning and accommodates diverse student needs. It includes a combination of self-paced, online learning and real-time classes. Early and additional feedback on learning, and tailored support, are provided to facilitate students’ transition to university. Learning and teaching strategies include active learning, case-based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning, project work, web-based learning, and reflective/critical thinking activities. These strategies will provide students with access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for application of this learning in health, exercise and sporting contexts related to motor skill learning and acquisition. These strategies will allow students to meet the aim, learning outcomes and graduate attributes of the unit, as well as professional practice standards. Learning and teaching strategies will reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to participate actively within group activities. 


This unit may also be offered on or off campus in intensive mode or multi-mode for sponsored / special cohorts, with the learning and teaching strategies being equitable with on campus mode offerings as endorsed by the School Curriculum Implementation Committee.  

Assessment strategy and rationale

In order to best enable students to demonstrate unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes, standards-based assessment is utilised, consistent with University assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies are used including: a written examination to assess student learning of unit content; a presentation to assess application of this learning and its communication; and case study work to assess the application and implementation of knowledge, understanding and skills.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning Outcomes


Enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the principles of motor learning and control in real world settings and to engage with scientific literature and communication skills.


LO2, LO3

Mid-Semester Written Examination

Enables students to demonstrate an understanding of the theories of motor learning and control and to describe the behavioural characteristics of motor control as they relate to the development of functional skills.


LO1, LO2

Case study – Skill acquisition program for functional skill development

Enables students to demonstrate their application of knowledge and skills by designing and evaluating motor learning environments and protocols for learning a functional skill. This includes demonstration of reporting and communication skills.


LO3, LO4

Representative texts and references

Magill, R. & Anderson, D. (2013). Motor learning and control: Concepts and applications (10th ed.). Boston, MA: McGraw Hill. 

Schmidt, R.A & Wrisberg, C.A. (2004). Motor learning and performance (3rd ed.). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics.  

Coker, C.A. (2009). Motor learning and control for practitioners (2nd ed.). Arizona: Halcomb Hathaway. 

Leonard, C.T. (1998). The neuroscience of human movement. St Louis: Mosby. 

Lundy-Ekman, L. (2007). Neuroscience: Fundamentals for rehabilitation (3rd ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Saunders, Elsevier. 

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