Volume 9 · Number 1 · Pages 125–136
A Cybernetic Computational Model for Learning and Skill Acquisition

Bernard Scott & Abhinav Bansal

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Context: Although there are rich descriptive accounts of skill acquisition in the literature, there are no satisfactory explanatory models of the cognitive processes involved. Problem: The aim of the paper is to explain some key phenomena frequently observed in the acquisition of motor skills: the loss of conscious access to knowledge of the structure of a skill and the awareness that an error has been made prior to the receipt of knowledge of results. Method: In the 1970s, the first author implemented a computer program model of the cognitive processes involved in learning and skill acquisition, based on a series of empirical investigations. Recently, with assistance from the second author, the model has been reviewed, updated and re-implemented. Result: The model provides a constructivist account of skill acquisition and associated phenomena. Implications: The model adds to the understanding of motor skill acquisition and will be of interest to researchers and practitioners in physical therapy and sports science. It is also provides a constructivist cognitive architecture that can be fruitfully contrasted with non-constructivist cognitive architectures well-known in cognitive science.

Key words: Skill acquisition, computer program model, second-order cybernetics, cognitive processes, constructivist cognitive architecture.


Scott B. & Bansal A. (2013) A cybernetic computational model for learning and skill acquisition. Constructivist Foundations 9(1): 125–136. http://constructivist.info/9/1/125

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