Ecological Task Analysis: Translating Movement Behavior Theory into Practice

in Adapted Physical Activity Quarterly

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Walter E. DavisKent State University

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Allen W. BurtonUniversity of Minnesota

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A new approach to task analysis is presented based upon an ecological theory of perception and current motor development and control theories. The ecological task analysis (ETA) approach stands in sharp contrast to more traditional approaches and offers procedures equally applicable to instruction and assessment of movement performance as well as to applied research. The strengths of the ETA approach lie in (a) its grounding in current motor development and control theories, (b) its linking of the task requirements, environmental conditions, and performer characteristics, (c) its application of a functional and dynamic approach to instruction and assessment, and (d) its integration of instruction and assessment procedures. Following a discussion of the traditional approach and ecological theory, four concepts are presented that emanate from Gibson’s theory of affordances. From these concepts ETA procedures are derived. Applied research questions relating to task analysis are also implied from the ecological approach and are presented in the final section.

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