- psychomotor skills - the development of physical skills (Alexander Romiszowski)

instructional-design theories and models: a new paradigm of instructional theory volumell  


the primary goal of this theory is to foster the development of psycho-motor (physical) skills.  it is intended for all situations."                                                                                                                                          - by charles m. reigeluth


 values highlight concept map blueprint reflection references resources
*please note that most, if not all, of the notes on values and highlight sections taken from text passages are direct quotations/phrases.


- physical skills,
- automatizing physical skills,
- the integration of different approaches and apparently conflicting viewpoints.

back to top


highlight of theory


Research and theory on instruction:

-Pre-industrial apprenticeship model of skills development: (forging of intimate relationships between a master performer and a novice/apprentice --> In common with recent idea in cognitive area, such as reflection-in-action, and cognitive apprenticeship.

-The analysis of current best practices of physical skills development is particularly interesting in revealing multiple paradigms that can be used as the philosophical and theoretical backdrop for practice.

 psychomotor skills
 instructional transaction

  ˇő constructivist learning ˇő

 teaching for understanding
 learning communities



Learning and teaching: basic constructs:

The Skills Schema: Physical skills exist on a continuum with:

    -reproductive (reflexive, closed) skills- applying standard procedures.
productive ( strategy, planning, open) skills- applying principles and strategies.
-four domains of skilled activity- Cognitive skills (thinking), psychomotor skills (body), reactive skills (emotions), and interactive skills (reactions).

2. The Skills Cycle: draws our attention to the importance of considering such factors as perception, memory, intellectual skills, and cognitive strategies when we engage in the teaching of psychomotor skills.




three basic steps or stages in the overall instructional process:

- step 1: imparting the knowledge content.

- step 2: imparting the basic skill.

- step 3: develop proficiency (flow, automatization, generalization):

1. to impart knowledge.

2. to provide practice.

3. to provide feedback on practice.

4. to promote transfer.

5. to use task fidelity appropriately.

6. to develop the "inner self."



Difference and Similarities of Romiszowski's Psychomotor Skills Theory and Gagne's Learning Hierarchy


Alexander Romiszowski

Robert M. Gagne


General process: learning and instruction

The hierarchical model of five stages to mastery is useful for planning instructional sequences and appropriate evaluation instruments in the development of psychomotor skills.

1.      Acquiring knowledge of what should be done, to what purpose, in what sequence, and by what means.

2.     Executing the actions in a step-by-step manner, for each of the steps of the operation.

3.     Transfer of control from the eyes to other senses or to kinesthetic control through muscular coordination.

4.     Automatization of the skill

5.     Generalization of the skill to a continually greater range of application situations.

Gagne also has a learning hierarchy, but it is very different from Romiszowskiˇ¦s hierarchical model to mastery in psychomotor skillsˇ¦ development.  Gagne contended learning tasks for intellectual skills can be organized in a hierarchy according to complexity in his Conditions of Learning Theory.

1. Stimulus recognition

2. Response generation

3. Procedure following

4. Use of terminology

5. Discriminations

6. Concept formation

7. Rule application

8. Problem Solving


Instructional tactics for specific situations

Research-based principles of instruction that underline the basic model in development of psychomotor skills:

1.      Imparting the essential information to the trainee

2.     Providing opportunities for practice

3.      Feedback in psychomotor skills instruction

4.     Teaching for transfer:   Transfer and retention of motor skills could be improved by ˇ§overlearning.ˇ¨

Gagne (1954) Training devices and simulators, American Psychologist.

Both practical observation and experimental evidences are the indicators which suggest that ˇ§the amount of transfer of learning is in proportion to the amount of initial practice.ˇ¨ i.e. Transfer increases with amount of initial training.

Integrating the performer and the task

The question of fidelity in training devices and simulators: 

The common practice of putting emphasis on high fidelity to the real task is not a very cost-effective approach to training.


Exact simulation of a task is often in conflict with effective training because it precludes the implementation of effective instructional design principles.  Part-task training devices often overcome this problem, allowing sound design to be incorporated into simulated practice exercises. 

Effectiveness for training as a guiding principle should replace the ˇ§identical elementsˇ¨ principle first suggested by Thorndike in the design of training devices and simulators.

The problem of effective training was not about making the tasks similar, but rather arranging the conditions of practice in a way that essential skills were most efficiently learned.  (One may generalize from this example: what makes a training device effective?  Not in identity of all task elements, but rather in viewing a training device as a means of making conditions most effective for learning.)

Gagne favored component practice over total simulation. He wondered whether any skills were ever effectively learned ˇ§all at onceˇ¨ exclusively through practice on the job or on fully realistic simulators.

For example, training in driving a car is very often conducted in sessions designed to give special emphasis, or additional practice, such as some difficult part-skills like shifting gears or the operation of parallel parking.  In this respect, practical skill-training methods have always departed more or less from the conditions of exact simulation. (Gagne, 1954, p9)


back to top



concept map


back to top


id blueprint
Instructional Design Blueprint for Combine Theories - Elaboration and Psychomotor Skills Theories: Youth Basketball Summer Camp

back to top


Personal Reflection on Youth Basketball Summer Camp Blueprint

back to top


Romiszowski, A. (1999). The Development of Physical Skills: Instruction in the Psychomotor Domain. In C. M. Reigeluth (Ed.), Instructional Design Theories and Models: A new paradigm of instructional theory (pp.457-479). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associate, Inc.

Gagne, R. M. (1954). Training devices and simulators: Some research issues. American Psychologist, 9(7), 95-107.

back to top


Training Devices and Simulators: Some Research Issues by Robert M. Gagne

back to top




                                                       last update: May 4th, 2007
                                                                 contact hsiuwei: hoh5021 at psu dot edu