About analogy learning

Analogy learning is a learning strategy used to improve motor skills on variating levels in sports or in other settings. When learning a motor skill analogy learning combines the task relevant ‘rules’ of a to-be-learned skill in a simple biomechanical analogy or metaphor that can be reproduced by the learner (Liao & Masters, 2001).

Analogy learning is explored in sports and demostrated its benefits of robustness and better performance under both psychological pressure and secondary load tasks (Lam, Maxwell, & Masters, 2009, Liao & Masters, 2001).

Analogy learning is mainly examined in sports although it might be beneficial in therapeutic settings as well. As (re)learning motor skills is one of the main goals in physiotherapy, therapy is often based on explaining patients step by step how to reproduce a certain movement. This means that patients should be able to process a lot of explicit information (knowledge). For some patients especially those who suffer from cognitive deficits this can be hard to cope with. Analogy learning as an implicit motor learning strategy reduces this consciously prosessed information on the working memory. The use of analogies could be a solution where patients as well as therapists could benefit from as it results in a more effective therapy.

As sports coaches and therapists are always looking for the best teaching methods and learning strategies, analogy learning is a good strategy to take in account. The more difficult part is finding the right and effective analogies what results in a creative task for the coaches or therapist. However seeing the advantages of implicit learning over explicit learning it might be worthy giving it a try.