Monday, April 12, 2010

Skill Acquistion - readings

Over the Easter ‘break’ I worked on my thesis and also did a read up on skill acquisition. Found the book edited by A.M. Williams & N.J. Hodges (2004) – Skill acquisition in sport: research, theory & practice to be helpful.

Most books on skill acquisition are older( pre 1960s) and out of print. Contemporary books on the topic are on sports skills so the above book provides a good example of the genre & provides good overviews of aspects of skills acquisition including individual differences, understanding role of feedback, instructions, demonstrations and the learning process, observational learning and expertise.

Some chapters of the Williams and Hodges book are available on Google books.  In particular, the first chapter by Summers, J. J. – a historical perspective of skill acquisition is a good summary and revision.  The next three sections cover a good range of articles on the information processing perspectives, expertise approach and the newer ecological/dynamic systems approach to studying skills acquisition. This book provides more studies / details on the last approach ‘dynamics of skill acquisition: a constraints –led approach by Keith Davids, Chris Button and Simon Bennett.

Other books in the CPIT library include ‘Motor learning and performance: a situation-based learning approach’ by Richard Schmidt and Craig Wrisberg. A textbook on the topic. Well structured and covers the important background theories on motor learning. Has good real world examples. Highly readable. Some chapters available as previews on Google books.

Motor control, learning and development (2008) by Andrea Utley and Sarah Astill provides a good overview of the essentials in the field including classification of skill, theories of motor control and learning, stages in motor learning, implications for practice and the role and function of feedback. A more detailed / higher level version of above is ‘Motor learning and control: concepts and applications’ (2007) by Richard A. Mcgill. Well laid out as a text book with good overviews of the precepts of the field. This book is supported by a website which has review questions/quizzes, weblinks and related readings. Also a preview of 9th edition with chapters 1 & 3 with details of Gentile’s taxonomy on page 12 which may be useful for coding purposes in our project.

The other book which is important is the older NCVER publication edited by John Stevenson. Almost every chapter in Cognition at work (1994) is pertinent to our project. A newer book (2003) also edited by John Stevenson ‘ Developing vocational expertise: Principles and issues in vocational education’ is more generalised. A slightly newer book, Cognition and communication at work edited by Y. Engestrom and D. Middleton has previews on google books. Again most chapters are pertinent. Chapter 2 by Edwin Hutchins & Tove Klausen on ‘distributed cognition in an airline cockpit’ has a good description of how to find meaning using videos and audio recordings of a complex work tasks.

There are also pertinent chapters in the book ‘workplace learning in context’ edited by Helen Rainbird, Alison Fuller & Anne Munro. Preview of many chapters on Google books. Three chapters of relevance from this book. Chapter 11 by Michael Young on ‘conceptualising vocational knowledge: Some theorectical considerations’ provides background and theorectical foundations which updates and extend on precepts used in the ‘Cognition at work’ book. Chapter 12 by Michael Eraut on ‘transfer of knowledge between education and workplace settings’ provides a framework to understand the knowledge found in the workplace. We can adjust this framework to extend on Nuttall’s recommendation for analysing concepts to be learnt in a classroom. Chapter 9 by Yrjo Engestrom on ‘the new generation of expertise’ presents 7 thesis on a new way to understand expertise. This book also has chapters on learning through work by Stephen Billett, expansive learning environments by Alison Fuller and Lorna Unwin, learner biographies by Karen Evans, Natasha Kersch and Akiko Sakamoto, conception and measurement of learning at work by Paul Hager and complexities of workplace learning – problems and dangers in trying to measure attainment by Phil and Heather Hodkinson.