Learning design for Nonlinear Dynamical Movement Systems

, Keith Davids*, 1, 2
1 Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of University of Faculty of Sport and Health Sciences, University of University of Jyväskylä, Finland
2 School of Exercise and Nutrition Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Australia

© 2012 Davids et al.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the School of Exercise and Nutri-tion Sciences, Queensland University of Technology, Australia; Tel: +610731388744; Fax: +610731383980; E-mail:


This paper discusses a theoretical basis for a sport pedagogy predicated on a conception of the learner as a nonlinear dynamical movement system. Here key ideas in ecological dynamics are elucidated before implications are considered for designing performance simulations to enhance learning in sport. It is argued that this approach to learning design in sport can provide practititioners with a relevant model of the learner and of learning processes. A key idea in ecological dynamics proposes that the relevant scale of analysis for understanding human behaviours such as learning is the person-environment relationship, not either entity considered separately. The paper concludes by discussing five prin-ciples of learning design implied by a commitment to an ecological dynamics approach to human behavior.

Keywords: learning design, motor behaviour, ecological dynamics, sport pedagogy.