Psychomotor Skill Development: Learning What and How To Do

Felicity Blackstock, Shane Pritchard

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Otherpeer-review


Effective self-management of a person’s health condition requires more than simply knowing about the health condition. A patient will learn about their condition, acquiring knowledge, but will also need specific skills that require motor control in combination with understanding. Examples of psychomotor skills a patient with a respiratory condition may be required to develop include the ability to take peak flow readings or learning to use a dry powder inhaler. ‘See one, do one’ is not appropriate for educating patients to perform these complex self-management procedures. The interaction between the patient, the task and goal of the movement, and the environment in which the movement is completed must inform the approach to teaching a person a new skill. Considerations for healthcare professionals includes the stage of learning, the memory and cognitive load, the context of learning, whether learning is explicit or implicit, whether the attention is external or internal, and how feedback is given. Subsequently, learning psychomotor skills requires more innovative teaching methods, as psychomotor skills require both a psychology/knowledge component, as well as a motor component, compared to knowledge learning alone. In this chapter, we will explore the theory relevant to the direct clinical context of supporting a patient to learn how to use a dry powder inhaler. The chapter provides the theoretical background for motor learning and underpins the scientific literature explored in Chap. 13, Teaching the practical skill of correct inhaler use: Knowing and being able to do. Understanding the processes involved in learning and subsequently performing psychomotor skills will enable healthcare professionals to better plan and deliver appropriate learning experiences for patients that positively impact on their abilities to self-manage their chronic respiratory condition.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationEnhancing Patient Engagement in Pulmonary Healthcare
Subtitle of host publicationThe Art and Science
EditorsMarilyn L. Moy, Felicity Blackstock, Linda Nici
Place of PublicationSwitzerland
PublisherHumana Press
Number of pages14
ISBN (Electronic)9783030448899
ISBN (Print)9783030448882
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Publication series

NameRespiratory Medicine
ISSN (Print)2197-7372
ISSN (Electronic)2197-7380

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