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UK Coaching Team
Organising and Planning

Understanding Representative Learning Design

The basic principles of Representative Learning Design (RLD) and how you can start applying them, developed with Cal Jones

Representative Learning Design (RLD) is the name given to designing practice where the tasks and activities reflect the performance or competition environment.

When participants learn the sport in the context of the performance environment, there is a higher chance that the gains made in practice will be retained and transferred to the game.

There have been a lot of papers and research that demonstrate the benefits of RLD, but there is some debate as to why these benefits exist.

How does RLD support learning?

The debate surrounding how the benefits are brought about by RLD tends to be split between two camps:

  1. Some people think that a skill exists in relation to the environment it occurs in, so the information we see/hear/feel in the environment directly informs how we perform a skill, we do not need to use our brain to translate the information and make a plan.
  2. Other people think that we have a mental model of a skill in our heads, and that we use our head like a computer to “read” the information in the environment, process it, and plan how to adjust a skill to fit the problem.

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UK Coaching Team