teaching and learning

Teaching psychomotor skills

This page is about teaching people how to do something practical - often with their hands.
Its focus is on teaching this is a formal educational session - it must be stressed that mastery of a psychomotor skill will require much more practice after the session and the need for supervision/feedback should be stressed to learners.

Top Tip

(courtesy of "Woody")
If possible let the person learning look over your shoulder while you demonstrate or perform a skill - this will allow them to see what it should look like from their perspective when they do it.

The 4 stage Technique

More detail is given in the links below but in summary:
1 Demonstrate the skill, as quickly as it is normally done, but without providing a commentary
2 Demonstrate the skill, slowly, and while exlpaining what you are doing, how and why
3 Repeat the slow demonstration, but this time with the commentary coming from one of the learners
4 Each of the learners practices under supervision

It is crucial that in the final stage, learners' mistakes are pointed out, advice given on how to avoid rrepeating these, and the learner encouraged to prcatice again until able to demonstrate the skill satisfactorily.

Relation of 4 stage technique to set-dialogue-closure sructure

These four stages would comprise the dialogue part of a "set-dialogue-closure" structure.


Preparation of all equipment (check it works!)
Instructor review of key objectives and key components of the skill
Instructor practice with equipment to ensure they are competent to demonstrate the skill
Determine the best place for instructor and learners (e.g. if outdoors ensure the sun will not dazzle the learners)
Ensure learners appreciate relevance of skill to them and relevant cognitive components (e.g. indications and contraindications to using the skill)
Outline the 4 stage technique so learners know what is coming


Identify persistent flaws in learners' techniques and identify opportunities for further practice
Seek questions and answer these
Summarise with key points

diagram showing stages of clinical skill learning - from presentation by Dr Reg Dennick


4 stage technique
teaching and learning practical skills
Variation of 4 stage technique: external image pdf.png [[file/view/teaching psychomotor skill.pdf|teaching psychomotor skill.pdf]]
Teaching skills

Discussion of 4 stage technique with links to research that failed to find it superior
psychomotor domain of Bloom's taxonomy
psychomotor domain definitions and verbs