Understanding the Meaning of Effort in Learning a Motor Skill: Ability Conceptions

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Weidong Li The University of Memphis

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This study was designed to examine the relationship between conceptions of ability and understandings of the meaning of effort. Participants practiced a novel task and completed an ability conceptions questionnaire prior to instruction and a meaning of effort survey after practicing the task. The majority of participants believed in the efficacy of effort, no matter what view of ability they endorsed. Partial support was provided for the proposition that participants with stronger incremental views of ability were likely to endorse the view that trying hard allowed them to fully use their ability. It is suggested that, to promote active engagement and enhance skill learning, teachers capitalize on the belief in the efficacy of effort by focusing their motivational strategies on students’ effort.

The author is with the Department of Health and Sport Sciences, University of Memphis, Memphis, TN 38152.

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