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LOM_LSE_LP: perceptual motor grounding

Whenever a concept is first introduced, it is important to ground it in a concrete perceptual-motor experience. The learner will ideally visualize a picture of the concept, will be able to manipulate its parts and aspects, and will observe how it functions over time. The teacher and learner will also gain a common ground (shared knowledge) of the learning material. Perceptual-motor experience is particularly important when there is a need for precision, such as getting directions to find a spatial location. For example, a course in statistics is not grounded in perceptual-motor experience when the teacher presents symbols and formulae that have no meaning to the student and cannot be visualized.

  • Teachers should ground new concepts in perceptual-motor experiences when concepts are first introduced and when the content needs to be tracked with a high level of precision. This practice facilitates comprehension, learning, and later use of the information. 

  • Glenberg, A. M., & Kaschak, M. (2002). Grounding language in action. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 9, 558-565.
  • Glenberg, A.M., & Robertson, D.A. (1999). Indexical understanding of instructions. Discourse Processes, 28, 1-26.