Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit


EXSC230 Motor Control and Learning

Teaching organisation

150 hours of focused learning.

Unit rationale, description and aim

This unit of study provides students with further knowledge of both behavioural and neurophysiological approaches to motor learning and control, directed at the acquisition and execution of human movement, and its application in various professional and research settings. Students will be introduced to contemporary issues in research and application in the fields of high performance sport, general/healthy lifespan populations, and clinical populations. The aim of the unit is to further develop understanding of the key motor learning and control principles developed in previous units, by providing the opportunity to consider their application in three targeted areas that align with the potential avenues for work, or further study that are relevant to an Exercise Scientist. In this way, students will be able to focus on an area that is of personal interest, whilst also understanding how foundational knowledge is integrated with other areas.

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.

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

LO1 - Demonstrate specialist knowledge and understanding of perceptuo-motor control and learning principles and their application to human movement (GA5). 

LO2 - Demonstrate an understanding of selected literature in the area of perceptual-motor control learning, and the ability to interpret and evaluate research as it applies to selected problems (GA4, GA8, GA9). 

LO3 - Conduct comprehensive perceptual-motor control and learning investigations, and understand the limitations associated with the methodologies (GA4, GA5, GA7, GA10). 

LO4 - Describe how perceptual-motor control and learning can combine with other exercise and sports science disciplines to provide a greater understanding of human performance (GA5). 

Graduate attributes

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

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

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: 

  • Contemporary Approaches to Skill Acquisition and Perceptuo-Motor Control 
  • Perception-Action Coupling, Information, and Affordances 
  • Decision-Making 
  • Expertise 
  • Neural Mechanisms of Motor Control 
  • Neuromuscular Control and Sports Injuries 
  • Plasticity and Adaptation 
  • Movement Variability in Sport, Health, and Disease 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

The strategies employed within the unit include tutorials, workshops, individual and group activities, web based learning and reflective/critical thinking activities. An emphasis is placed on the development of individual understanding, through engagement with meaningful content. A block mode of delivery will promote depth of understanding, rather than introducing a large amount of new content. This provides the opportunity to integrate and expand upon previous knowledge, necessary to facilitate its application beyond the classroom and, thus, meet both the learning outcomes and graduate attributes associated with the unit. Strategies respect the individual as a learner but students will also have a responsibility to participate in group discussion. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

To best enable students to achieve unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes a standards-based assessment is employed, consistent with university assessment requirements. A range of assessment strategies will be used and may include: Online collaborative learning, individual written reports and examination, presentations, and case studies. The first task requires students to engage with selected literature and extract key ideas that can be translated into practice. The format and provision of class time to work on the task promotes active engagement with the lecture and workshop content. Students can learn in a collaborative environment yet still be graded individually. The written task requires students to submit a proposed practice environment intervention. This will involve researching the literature or drawing on practical experience to devise a question of practical relevance and providing a rationale for chosen methods.

To pass this unit, you are required to attempt ALL assessment tasks. Failure to complete an assessment task will automatically lead to a fail grade (NN).

The assessment tasks for this unit are designed for you to demonstrate your achievement of each learning outcome.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Glossary/engagement task:

Enables students to produce a series of short entries in a collaborative online glossary and to interact via comments with other students work over the course of the semester.



GA4, GA7, GA8, GA9 

Individual written assignment:

Enables students to develop and rationalise a proposed practice intervention to improve an aspect of perceptual-motor functioning within a specific population.


LO2, LO3 

GA4, GA5, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10 


Enables students to demonstrate and apply their understanding of course content.


LO1, LO2, LO4 

GA4, GA5 

Representative texts and references

Magill, R.A. (2010). Motor Learning: Concepts and Applications (8th ed.). Boston: McGraw-Hill 

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

Rosenbaum, D.A. (2009). Human motor control. (2nd ed.) New York: Academic Press. 

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

Chow, J.Y., Davids, K., Button, C., Renshaw, I. (2016) Nonlinear Pedagogy in Skill Acquisition. Oxon: Routledge. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs