Module code: BMS1053

Module Overview

This module will give an introduction into skill acquisition and research methods. You will cover the basic structure and functions of the nervous system, and key psychological theories and models relating to skill acquisition. You will develop an understanding of how this theoretical knowledge is used to guide applied practice in health and performance domains. This module will help you critique, analyse and present research findings.

Module provider

School of Biosciences

Module Leader

WILD James (Biosciences)

Number of Credits: 15

ECTS Credits: 7.5

Framework: FHEQ Level 4

Module cap (Maximum number of students): N/A

Overall student workload

Independent Learning Hours: 48

Lecture Hours: 18

Seminar Hours: 5

Tutorial Hours: 5

Practical/Performance Hours: 6

Guided Learning: 50

Captured Content: 18

Module Availability

Semester 1

Prerequisites / Co-requisites


Module content

Indicative content includes:

• Organisation of the central nervous system (spinal cord, brain).

• Motor control

• Theories of Learning and the coaching process

• The instruction process

• Observational learning and modelling

• Focus of attention

• Structuring the practice environment

• Contextual interference

• Feedback Frequency, timing and organization

• Physical guidance/assistance

• Complex versus simple tasks

• Expert novice differences

• Training for performance (dealing with pressure)

• Research methods (descriptive statistics, study design)

Assessment pattern

Assessment type Unit of assessment Weighting
Oral exam or presentation GROUP VIDEO PRESENTATION 50

Alternative Assessment

Alternative assessment for 'Group Video Presentation' is an 'Individual Video Presentation' 

Assessment Strategy

The assessment strategy is designed to provide students with the opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and understanding of the taught topics and directed study/additional reading. 

Thus, the summative assessment for this module consists of:

  • Information sheet (coursework, 50%) – students are required to write an information sheet which provides an interpretation of testing data on a group of athletes

  • Group video presentation (50%) –  students will record a 10 minute presentation in groups 

Formative assessment and feedback

  • Prior to the assessments, lecture and/or seminar time will be spent discussing the assignment and feedback process. The marking scheme will be specified, expectations discussed and examples of excellent practice provided for students to make comparisons.

  • Verbal feedback on group presentations by the lecturer and peers

Module aims

  • Provide grounding in neuronal signalling and an overview of CNS functions
  • Introduce principles involved in skill acquisition; how people learn and retain new skills, and transfer skills
  • Introduce principles involved in research methods including study design and presentation of results.

Learning outcomes

Attributes Developed
001 Demonstrate basic knowledge about the structure and function of the nervous system and neural pathways involved in controlling human movement K
002 Describe key models of skill acquisition and explain how they can inform practice KP
003 Illustrate the role that perception and attention play in the learning and performance of sporting skills C
004 Describe considerations that should be taken into account when manipulating aspects of the environment and providing feedback and instructions to impact learning PT
005 Apply skill acquisition techniques to the coaching process PT
006 Demonstrate an understanding of study designs, descriptive statistics and researching literature and referencing CT

Attributes Developed

C - Cognitive/analytical

K - Subject knowledge

T - Transferable skills

P - Professional/Practical skills

Methods of Teaching / Learning

The learning and teaching strategy is designed to include lectures, seminars and practical work in groups in order to develop subject specific knowledge and practical skills and provide formative feedback, discussion and summative examinations. Students will also be provided directed study, typically involving a weekly set of tasks on SurreyLearn and/or additional reading.

Throughout the module SurreyLearn will extensively be used to inform students and disseminate specific contents such as lecture hand-outs and recordings, useful links and additional literature. SurreyLearn will also be used to communicate between academics and students to effectively answer questions that are of relevance to all students (Discussion boards).

Indicated Lecture Hours (which may also include seminars, tutorials, workshops and other contact time) are approximate and may include in-class tests where one or more of these are an assessment on the module. In-class tests are scheduled/organised separately to taught content and will be published on to student personal timetables, where they apply to taken modules, as soon as they are finalised by central administration. This will usually be after the initial publication of the teaching timetable for the relevant semester.

Reading list
Upon accessing the reading list, please search for the module using the module code: BMS1053

Other information

The School of Biosciences and Medicine is committed to developing graduates with strengths in Employability, Digital Capabilities, Global and Cultural Capabilities, Sustainability, and Resourcefulness and Resilience. This module is designed to allow students to develop knowledge, skills and capabilities in the following areas:

Digital Capabilities: Students will be required to develop their digital skills by using Microsoft Excel to analyse a data set for their first assessment. They will also be encouraged to use the digital means necessary to undertake their group presentation for their second assessment.

Employability: The first assessment for this module requires students to produce an information sheet for fictional coaches and athletes based on testing data they have been given. They are required to use appropriate statistical analysis and present their findings in an easy and digestible manner for the audience. This is the type of skill set a sport scientist needs within the field. For their second assessment, students need to work collaboratively within a group to produce a video presentation. This helps them to develop teamwork.

Resourcefulness & Resilience: Group work is used heavily within the module. In both practical’s and assessments. Groupwork will hopefully support the development and awareness of the values of compassion, trust and empathy, and ultimately build emotional intelligence.

This module has a capped number and may not be available to ERASMUS and other international exchange students. Please check with the International Engagement Office email:

Recommended Reading • Davids, K., Button, C., & Bennett, S (2007) Dynamics of Skill Acquisition: A Constraints-led Approach. Leeds; Human Kinetics • Enoka, R (2002) Neuromechanics of Human Movement. Leeds; Human Kinetics • Ives, J (2014) Motor Behavior. London; Lippincott Williams & Wilkins • Latash, M (2008) Neurophysiological Basis of Movement. Leeds; Human Kinetics • McMorris, T (2004) Acquisition and Performance of Sports Skills. Chichester; John Wiley & Sons • Schmidt, R.A., & Lee, T (2014) Motor Learning and Performance. Leeds; Human Kinetics • Williams, A., & Hodges, N (2004) Skill Acquisition in Sport. London; Routledge • Armstrong, Lawrence, and William J. Kraemer. ACSM's Research Methods. Wolters Kluwer, 2016

Programmes this module appears in

Programme Semester Classification Qualifying conditions
Sport and Exercise Science BSc (Hons) 1 Compulsory A weighted aggregate mark of 40% is required to pass the module

Please note that the information detailed within this record is accurate at the time of publishing and may be subject to change. This record contains information for the most up to date version of the programme / module for the 2025/6 academic year.