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EXSC187 Growth, Motor Development and Ageing , EXSZ187 Growth, Motor Development and Ageing

Unit rationale, 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. Students 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. Students will gain skills in applying this knowledge to complete assessment of human fundamental movement patterns. This knowledge, understanding and skills will be further expanded on in later units of study (in the Bachelor program). Therefore, the aim of this unit is to provide students 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

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 - 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 - Demonstrate 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 (Week 1–6) contains much of the foundational knowledge/facts required for this and other exercise science units. The second (Week 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 workshops for the transition of these knowledge and skills. The lecture content is provided in two formats: a pre-recorded lecture video and two workshops. 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 workshops using examples and opportunity for questions. These workshops 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 workshops will be dedicated to providing the knowledge and skills required for Assessment 3.

Further to this, to ensure students are ready to transition from the Diploma and articulate into the second year of undergraduate study, transition pedagogies will be incorporated into the unit as the key point of differentiation from the standard unit. This focuses on an active and engaging approach to learning and teaching practices, and a scaffolded approach to the delivery of curriculum to enhance student learning in a supportive environment. This will ensure that students develop foundation level discipline-based knowledge, skills and attributes, and simultaneously the academic competencies required of students to succeed in this unit.

Assessment strategy and rationale

A range of assessment procedures will be used to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements.

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 1 and 2 are formative providing students with the opportunity to exhibit early learning and understanding of content and concepts within a lower stakes task. Assessment 3 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.

Strategies aligned with transition pedagogies will be utilised to facilitate successful completion of the unit assessment tasks. For each assessment, there will be the incorporation of developmentally staged tasks with a focus on a progressive approach to learning. This will be achieved through activities, including regular feedback, particularly early in the unit of study to support their learning; strategies to develop and understand discipline-specific concepts and terminology; in-class practice tasks with integrated feedback; and greater peer-to-peer collaboration.

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Assessment 1: Quiz

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of content and concepts introduced in Week 1 and 2 of the course.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA5, GA6

Assessment 2: Quiz

Enables students to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of content and concepts introduced in Week 3 and 4 of the course.


LO1, LO2, LO3

GA5, GA6

Assessment 3: Written Assignment

Enables students to demonstrate skills in assessing an 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, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Assessment 4: Final Examination

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


LO3, LO4, LO5, LO6

GA4, GA5, GA6, GA7, GA8, GA9, GA10

Representative texts and references

Button, C., Seifert, L., Chow, J-Y., Araujo, D., & Davids, K. (2020). Dynamics of skill acquisition: An ecological dynamics approach (2nd ed.). Human Kinetics.

Haywood, M., & Getchell, N. (2020). Life span motor development (7th ed.). Human Kinetics.

Payne, V. G.,& Isaacs, L. D. (2020). Human motor development: a lifespan approach (10th ed.). McGraw-Hill.

Taylor, A. W., & Johnson, M. J. (2008). Physiology of exercise and healthy aging. Human Kinetics.

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