Credit points




Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit description and aim

An understanding of the impact of growth, motor development and ageing, across the lifespan, on the systems and motor output of the human body is central to all disciplines of exercise science practice, foundational to the further study and application of exercise science and critical in the attainment of exercise scientist accreditation. You will be exposed to knowledge on pre- and post-natal growth, the effect of growth, maturation and ageing on key human physiological systems, the process of motor development, the classification of skills, the effects of constraints on motor skill acquisition and some fundamental motor learning theory. You will gain skills in applying this knowledge to complete assessment of human fundamental movement patterns.

These knowledge, understanding and skills will be further expanded on in later units of study, particularly EXSC230 - Motor Control and Learning. Therefore, the aim of this unit is to provide you with much of the foundational knowledge for Exercise Scientist accreditation and practice, preparation for further study in the sub-discipline of Motor Control and integration of these elements to perform fundamental movement assessments.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Recall and describe concepts of somatic growth, development, maturation and motor development across the lifespan and their effect on human performance (GA5, GA6).  

LO2 - Recall and describe factors which influence growth, maturation, physical performance and exercise capacity, including factors relevant to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples(GA5). 

LO3 - Identify and describe age, sex and maturity-associated variation in somatic growth and functional development in relation to their influence on human performance (GA5, GA7, GA8).

LO4 - Identify and explain the development of movement and the changes to movement patterns precipitated by growth, maturation and ageing (GA5, GA6). 

LO5 - Explain the influence of physical activity on growth, maturation, ageing and the development and maintenance of movement (GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA10). 

LO6 - Perform assessment of motor skill performance with specific reference to coordination, the stages of learning, and skill classification (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA6 - solve problems in a variety of settings taking local and international perspectives into account

GA7 - work both autonomously and collaboratively 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 

GA10 - utilise information and communication and other relevant technologies effectively.


Topics will include: 

  • Prenatal growth 
  • Pregnancy 
  • Postnatal Growth 
  • Infancy and childhood 
  • Growth and motor development patterns  
  • Measurement of growth and development 
  • Cross-cultural differences in milestones of motor development including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples 
  • Timing and sequence of changes during adolescence 
  • Gender differences 
  • Sporting injuries in the growing athlete   
  • Fundamentals of Motor Development and Learning 
  • Early Motor Development 
  • Reflexes 
  • Rudimentary movements 
  • Fundamental Motor Skills 
  • Development of FMS 
  • FMS progression to specialised movements 
  • Sensory Perception 
  • Perception-Action in development 
  • Structural changes to the skeletal, muscular, cardiovascular, respiratory and nervous system with ageing 
  • Exercise and ageing 
  • Falls and ageing 
  • The ageing motor system 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The learning and teaching strategies of this unit are designed to allow students to meet the aims, learning outcomes of the unit, graduate attributes of the University and professional accreditation standards. They are intended to reflect respect for the individual as an independent learner. Students will be expected to take responsibility for their learning and to engage actively with unit content and learning activities. 

The unit contains two distinct modules. The first (weeks 1-6) contains much of the foundational knowledge/facts required for this and other exercise science units as well as for ESSA accreditation. The second (weeks 7-12) builds on this with a focus on providing the foundational knowledge and skills required for the motor control sub discipline of exercise science. 

The unit employs lectures and tutorials for the transition of these knowledge and skills. The lecture content is provided in three formats: a pre-recorded video, and a face to face lecture which will be recorded and made available to students. The pre-recorded lectures contain the basic content and are designed to provide an initial contact with the content which will then be expanded upon in the face to face lecture using examples and opportunity for questions.  

Tutorials include active learning, inquiry based learning, individual and group activities, cooperative learning and reflective/critical thinking activities. This range of strategies will provide students with appropriate access to required knowledge and understanding of unit content, and opportunities for development of competency in the practical skills of movement assessment. Several tutorials will be dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills required for assessment 2. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

This unit requires students to demonstrate their understanding of the content, and demonstrate emerging observational, technical and reasoning skills. Assessment tasks have been designed and scheduled to both facilitate this learning and evaluate its attainment. 

Assessment task 1 is formative providing students with the opportunity to exhibit early learning and understanding of content and concepts within a lower stakes task. Assessment 2 is an individual task that requires students to demonstrate newly acquired knowledge, skills in assessing a participant’s development level as well as the ability to communicate their reasoning and understanding. The final task requires the students to demonstrate and explain their understanding of individual learning outcomes  

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Written Examination 

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of content and concepts introduced in the first four weeks of the course. 


LO1, LO2, LO3 

GA5, GA6, GA9 

Written Assignment 

1000 – 1500 words.

Enables students to demonstrate skills in assessing individual’s developmental level for fundamental movement patterns and communicate their understanding of the impact of various constraints on movement development. 


LO1, LO2, LO3, LO4, LO6 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 

Written Examination 

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and explain understanding of content from weeks 5 – 12. 


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6 

GA4, GA5, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Haywood, M. & Getchell, N. (2014). Life Span Motor Development (6th ed).  Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics 

Malina, R.M., Bouchard, C., & Bar-Or, O. (2004).  Growth, maturation, and physical activity online student  

resource (2nd ed). Champaign, IL: Human Kinetics 

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