Undergraduate Honors Theses

Thesis Defended

Fall 2015

Document Type


Type of Thesis

Departmental Honors


Integrative Physiology

First Advisor

Dr. David Sherwood

Second Advisor

Dr. Teresa Foley

Third Advisor

Dr. Alice Healy



There is limited existing research investigating the use of learning style preferences to enhance the learning and retention of motor skills despite extensive evidence that has been gathered on this topic in the academic setting. This study sought to determine the effect of instruction and feedback styles with regard to preference on learning and retaining motor skills. The motor task of dart throwing with the center bulls eye of a dartboard as the target was used. Forty-one college-aged subjects participated in acquisition trials and a retention test after being given either their preferred or non-preferred method of visual or verbal instruction based on a motor learning preference questionnaire. Subjects were blindfolded while throwing and given both visual and verbal feedback in blocked or random order during the acquisition phase. The immediate retention test consisted of 10 blindfolded throws with no feedback. Error for all trials was measured as radial error in centimeters from the center of the target. Results showed no significant effect for preference in instruction or acquisition. Subjects performed significantly better during acquisition after receiving visual feedback compared to verbal feedback. There was no difference in retention test scores between feedback order groups, however subjects who preferred visual feedback tended to have lower radial error. These findings show that preference played no significant role in learning or retention of the motor task. Subjects were better able to use visual feedback over verbal feedback to improve performance during practice and had similar performance on the retention test regardless of feedback order.