Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science in Applied Cognitive Science and Human Factors (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences

Advisor 1

Kevin Trewartha

Committee Member 1

Robert Pastel

Committee Member 2

Erich Petushek


To understand motor learning we must observe improvements in the performance of a motor behavior over time. Current laboratory approaches to measuring motor learning are not accessible to all populations, and this lack of accessibility limits the ability of researchers to gain information about developmental processes and medical conditions that impact motor control. To date, there are a handful of portable motor learning tools that use devices such as smartphones and tablets but very few fully remote options. We have created a web-based application to assess visuomotor adaptation, a gold standard approach to studying motor learning, in a remote setting. The overarching goal of this study was to provide evidence that a web-based application is a valid way to assess motor learning in healthy younger and older adults. Younger adults (n=24) and older adults (n=19) participated in this study. Each participant met with a researcher via Zoom and shared their screen while performing the visuomotor rotation (VMR) task and a cognitive battery. Data from the application was then compared to data previously collected using traditional laboratory equipment. Results show that the online application produced similar learning curves compared to the laboratory task. Expected age differences were not seen using the application, however. Surprisingly, older adults performed better using the application than in the laboratory while younger adults performed the same across platforms. Also, our cognitive measures were not found to be associated with learning in the application version of the VMR task. Our data show that this application can be used in research with results that are similar to those acquired in a laboratory setting with the benefit of the application improving accessibility to broader populations.