University of Technology Sydney

92555 Motor Learning and Control

Warning: The information on this page is indicative. The subject outline for a particular session, location and mode of offering is the authoritative source of all information about the subject for that offering. Required texts, recommended texts and references in particular are likely to change. Students will be provided with a subject outline once they enrol in the subject.

Subject handbook information prior to 2022 is available in the Archives.

UTS: Health
Credit points: 6 cp

Subject level: Undergraduate

Result type: Grade and marks

There are course requisites for this subject. See access conditions.


This subject provides a conceptual and practice-oriented introduction to the neural mechanisms and performance characteristics of human movement production and motor learning. Specifically, the structure of the motor control system, the processes underlying movement control, methods of assessing muscle and nerve function, posture and balance control, and the development of coordinated movement patterns are examined through contemporary research and practice-oriented teaching.

This subject uses a mix of out-of-class pre-learning activities, practical laboratory exercises and lectures to provide students with real-world examples of theoretical frameworks involved in motor learning and control.

Subject learning objectives (SLOs)

Upon successful completion of this subject students should be able to:
A. Classify and measure the performance of motor skills
B. Discuss the current theories of human motor control
C. Apply knowledge from biomechanics, anatomy, physiology and sports psychology to the practice of motor control
D. Describe the neuromuscular systems involved in motor learning
E. Describe how neuromuscular function changes with motor learning in a sporting, health (injury, ageing) and exercise context
F. Identify and describe the neural & physiological fundamentals associated with human movement
G. Identify the central processes that contribute to skilled motor behaviour
H. Promote critical thinking by understanding limitations and strengths of motor control research/theories
I. Assess motor function using the appropriate measurements in a sporting, health and exercise context

Course intended learning outcomes (CILOs)

This subject also contributes specifically to the following graduate attributes:

  • Competently apply knowledge and skills within the sport, exercise and health professions (3.0)
  • Engage in research and critical thinking to integrate diverse knowledge and develop creative, effective and evidence-based solutions (4.0)

Teaching and learning strategies

The following teaching and learning strategies will be utilised to achieve student learning outcomes:

  • Pre-learning activities (online & in-class discussions)
  • Lecture content (face to face & online)
  • Tutorial/Laboratory sessions (face to face & online)
  • Online informal assessment and peer/lecturer feedback (face to face & online)

Pre-learning activities will be uploaded on Canvas and are a prerequisite to attending the laboratories. The content of the pre-learning activity will be discussed during the first part of the laboratory session and will form the foundation for that week's laboratory content.

Lecture content will be delivered each week in a face to face delivery format. Lectures will be recorded in real time using screen capture software and uploaded to UTSOnline. Students may access these lecture recordings at any time following the lecture until the completion of the unit. Lectures will be supplemented with online content on practical applications of motor learning and control concepts and short animation videos explaining some of the most important content.

In order to encourage active learning during laboratory sessions, students will engage with instructors and peers in collaborative and hands on learning activities. Students will also be required to solve workbook questions. Students are strongly encouraged to engage in the pre-learning activities associated with each lab session prior to class to improve their learning experiences within this unit.

Students will also have the opportunity to undertake an online practice test prior to census date. Students are strongly encouraged to complete this assessment. Furthermore, students will be subject to informal peer and instructor review through collaborative laboratory activities, engagement in online discussion forums and in class discussions.

Content (topics)

  • Structure and function of neuromuscular and sensory systems in relation to motor learning
  • The integration of these systems and how they control and coordinate movement
  • Measurements of motor control function and their limitations
  • Outline the theoretical models that explain motor control and learning
  • Changes in motor control and performance and respective causes such as age, injury and training
  • Appropriate methods to examine motor function and performance
  • Task analysis, classification and appropriateness based on population group and movement
  • Relating motor control and motor learning environments to specific fields in Exercise Science.
  • Examining motor function of clients in a health and exercise context


Assessment task 1: Mid Session Exam


The intent of the Mid Session Exam is to assess students' understanding of motor control concepts that underpin motor performance. This will help students establish the theoretical foundation needed to engage in Motor Learning, the second part within the content of this course.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, G and H

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):


Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 30%

120 minutes

Assessment task 2: In-class Motor Learning Experiment


The aim of the in-class motor learning experiment is to evaluate student's understanding of the applications of motor control and motor learning concepts to a practice schedule involving a novel skill. Applying these fundamental concepts to a motor learning experiment will help students grasp how practice environments can be optimised to accommodate motor learning. It is this application of theoretical content to a real-world problem that will reflect a student's mastery of motor learning and control.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H and I

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

3.0 and 4.0

Type: Report
Groupwork: Group, group assessed
Weight: 30%

Assessment task 3: Final Examination


The aim of the final examination is to assess a student's understanding of the factors that underpin motor control and learning. In this assessment, the student will be asked to accurately recall information from lectures, labs and the textbook and apply it to the performance of motor skills in an every-day life, injury prevention and rehabilitation, or sport context.


This assessment task addresses subject learning objective(s):

A, B, C, F, G and H

This assessment task contributes to the development of graduate attribute(s):

3.0 and 4.0

Type: Examination
Groupwork: Individual
Weight: 40%

Required texts

Magill, R.A. & Anderson, D, 2016, Motor learning and control: concepts and applications, 11th edn, McGraw Hill, New York.

Students are advised to acquire their own copies of these texts. Copies of these texts are available at the UTS library on closed reserve.

All additional readings, other than text books, will be available via links from within Canvas. Any suggested weekly readings for this subject will be advised on Canvas prior to the lectures and tutorials. Please bring the readings to the tutorial class in the week required.

NB: It is essential that students engage with suggested readings and pre-learning activities. These will be considered assumed knowledge for tutorial classes and/or lectures.

Recommended texts

Lee, T. 2011, Motor control in everyday actions, Human Kinetics.

Shumway-Cook, A., & Woollacott, M.H. 2007, Motor control: translating research into clinical practice, Lippincott, Williams, & Wilkins.

Schmidt, R.A., Lee, T.D., Winstein, C., Wulf, G. & Zelaznik, H.N. 2018, Motor control and learning: a behavioral emphasis, Human Kinetics.

Other resources

UTS Student Centre
Building 10
Monday to Friday: 9am - 5pm
Tel: 1300 ASK UTS (1300 275 887)

Details for student centres:
For other resources/information refer to the Faculty of Health website (, the Health Student Guide ( and UTSOnline at:

UTS Library
The Library has a wide range of resources, facilities and services to support you including textbooks, subject readings, old exam papers, academic writing guides, health literature databases, workshops, a gaming room and bookable group study rooms. There is also a team of librarians to help you with all your questions.
W:, Facebook: utslibrary, Twitter: @utslibrary Tel: (02) 9514 3666

Improve your academic and English language skills
Marks for all assessment tasks such as assignments and examinations are given not only for what you write but also for how you write. If you would like the opportunity to improve your academic and English language skills, make an appointment with the HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support) Service in Student Services.

HELPS (Higher Education Language & Presentation Support)
HELPS provides assistance with English language proficiency and academic language. Students who need to develop their written and/or spoken English should make use of the free services offered by HELPS, including academic language workshops, vacation intensive courses, drop-in consultations, individual appointments and Conversations@UTS ( HELPS staff are also available for drop-in consultations at the UTS Library. Phone (02) 9514 9733

Please see for additional information on other resources provided to students by UTS.

The Accessibility and Financial Assistance Service
The Accessibility Service can support students with disabilities, medical or mental health conditions, including temporary injuries (e.g., broken limbs). The Accessibility Service works with Academic Liaison Officers in each Faculty to provide ‘reasonable adjustments’ such as exam provisions, assistive technology, requests and strategies for managing your studies alongside your health condition. If you’re unsure whether you need assistance, we recommend getting in touch early and we can provide advice on how our service can assist you. Make an appointment with an Accessibility Consultant (AC) on +61 2 9514 1177 or

The Financial Assistance Service can assist you with financial aspects of life at university, including Centrelink information, tax returns and budgeting, interest-free student loans and grants to assist with course-related costs. Check eligibility and apply online and make an appointment on +61 2 9514 1177 or