Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

Major

Kinesiology and Sport Studies

Major Professor

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother

Committee Members

Jeffrey T. Fairbrother, John G. Orme, Joshua Weinhandl, Angela Wozencroft

Abstract

A growing body of recent research has pointed to the potential value of allowing learners to have some autonomy in shaping their learning environment. Studies of this so-called self-control effect have demonstrated that allowing learners to control some aspect of the instructional setting facilitates motor learning compared to conditions that are controlled externally. The purpose of the present study is to examine how learners ostensibly provided self-control over feedback behave when the actual availability of feedback is constrained by a predetermined schedule of coach availability to provide feedback. Furthermore, an investigation into potential underlying mechanisms will be examined through a self-determination theory (SDT) lens. Participants were assigned to one of four feedback groups – 100% feedback group (KR100), 50% feedback group (KR50), self-controlled feedback group (SC), and yoked group (YK) – in order to learn a keypressing task. Post training measures of basic need satisfaction were obtained through a modified version of the Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction Survey (BPNS). The acquisition phase consisted of 72 practice trials of the key-pressing task. Approximately 24 hours after acquisition, each participant returned to complete tests of retention and transfer. Results revealed a significantly lower absolute constant error (ACE) score for the SC group during transfer (p < .05). There were also no significant differences between group BPNS sub-category scores. The results of this study suggest evidence for the robustness of the SC effect in a reduced feedback availability environment as well as evidence supporting underlying mechanisms other than motivation as driving the effect. Secondly, the results provide some evidence for the role of scarcity in elevating the number of feedback requests in a reduced autonomy environment.

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