The applied model for the use of observation: An update on context and function research


A review of the literature on the use of observation for motor learning and performance was conducted by Ste-Marie et al. (2012). Of the close to 100 articles reviewed in that work, it was determined that close to 95% were undertaken in skill training contexts with little research in sport competition or rehabilitation contexts. Moreover, the majority of the skill training research (>80%) was completed in laboratory settings. Additionally, the observation interventions used targeted the skill function of observation (> 90%) and interventions related uniquely to the strategy and performance functions were largely ignored. Ste-Marie et al. (2012) recommended that researchers extend their inquiry on the use of observation interventions beyond the skill function and to implement the research in applied settings that also captures the sport competition and rehabilitation contexts. An analysis of the observation intervention research literature from 2012-2018 was conducted to determine whether any of these recommendations have been heeded. The analysis of the 57 articles garnered has shown a greater percentage of research in the sport competition and rehabilitation contexts (30%), yet research in training contexts was still dominant. Of those papers in the training context, close to 50% were completed in applied settings. Consistent with the early research, however, observation interventions were focused on the skill function, with limited interventions for the performance or strategy functions. Thus, while some recommendations have been heeded, there are still research gaps that need to be addressed within observation intervention research for motor skill learning and performance.