Master Thesis M. Beschnidt: Sensomotorik und Handlungskompetenz
The thesis is roughly structured in three parts.
First, the author researches theory, definitions, commons grounds in sports science and neuroscience.
He then formulates three hypotheses, which are falsified after further literature research and deductions.
Last, the findings are further confirmed by four examples from his experience as a karate trainer and as a occupational safety instructor.
- "Wiederholen ohne Wiederholung" (from N. Bernstein, 1996, rough English translation: "repeat without repetition") holds true: quality of every movement matters. Coordination and learning effect improve when conditions are changed and the trainee is challenged (rooted in different levels of concious effort and mechanic movement automation).
- Energy reserves for cognitive tasks are limited (untrained 360-460 kcal, in liver), glycolysis
- Muscles have glycogen storage which cannot be accessed by the nervous system. Muscles use glycolysis, then lipolysis (burning fats) and ketogenesis. The latter are energy-inefficient and put stress on the immune system.
- Thus mental and physical exhaustion are interdependent.
- A holistic approach to training is advised, proper (physical) training boosts not just specific but also general competence. Important aspects of such training are highlighted.
- Identifying bad technological assistance systems causing stress and sensory overload. Instead, technology should automate and assist, not distract.
- Emotional level matters for building competence, too.
I was surprised to learn that the effectiveness of Shisa Kanko ("finger pointing and calling", example, another one) is well-supported by science and aligned with the thesis' findings.
Before, it looked like a misguided Japanese efficiency ritual or make-work to me.
From my observation, the holistic learning/teaching approach is also applicable to "thought work" like computer science and software engineering:
- It's not enough to learn the theory, it needs to be applied and used regularly.
- Raw repetition is not valuable. Quality, variety and challenge matter to grow in the profession.
- Ties in with understanding and interdependence of language, intelligence, physical affordances and perception of "the real world". How related research on language, intelligence, child development, AI, sports and design is converging (which should probably be a blog post of its own).
In general, separation of "body and mind" rooted in western philosophy can be seen as an ill-path.
Or like the Romans used to say:
Mens sana in corpore sano