Motor through these stages by initially understanding the

Motor skill learners go through different stages of motor
learning, a theory postulated by Fitts and Poser in 1967. They stated that
learning occurs in three distinct stages called Cognitive, Fixation or
sometimes referred to as Associative, and Autonomous. A novice learner
progresses through these stages by initially understanding the skill, then
executing the skill, and finally, refining the movement to execute it


During the Cognitive stage, the learner’s goal is to
understand the objective of the motor skill. During this stage, the learner
relies heavily on their visual input to observe and process any environmental
factors. The learner is required to have a high level of concentration and
dedicating most of their time attending to the instructions of the skill.
Instructions of the skill and feedback about errors are usually provided by the
teacher because learners struggle to independently resolve their errors in the
Cognitive stage. For example, a novice basketball player learning to shoot a
basketball may be given instructions such as: how to hold the ball, the
sequence of shooting the ball, how to position the shoulders and feet, bending
your knees during the shot, and following through with the shot. The first few
trials are usually unsuccessful and may need more time to understand and refine
the motor skill. 

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In the Fixation stage, the learner has established the
basis of the skill and can now refine it through more practice. In this stage,
proprioceptive cues are more significant than visual inputs. Learners focus on
where their body is in space in relation to the movement of the motor skill. The
learner will gradually increase their successful attempts at subsequent trials
in this stage. Going back to the basketball example, learners will focus on how
to increase their accuracy, stabilizing their elbow during the shot, and
preventing their shot being blocked by another player.


The final stage of motor learning, Autonomous,
is when the skill is executed automatically. In comparison to the first two
stages, the learner can perform the skill in a variety of environmental stimuli
with little cognitive involvement. A basketball player in this stage will be
able to execute more accurate shots against defensive players. It is important
to note that most learners take different lengths of time to learn a specific
type of skill. Factors such as motivation, types of feedback, environmental
stimuli, and impairments to musculoskeletal or neuromuscular system can affect
the learning process