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Motivating Active Learning in Physical education (MALP)
DOI 10.1186/ISRCTN07038258
ClinicalTrials.gov identifier
EudraCT number
Public title Motivating Active Learning in Physical education (MALP)
Scientific title Increasing Active Learning time in Physical education: an application of self-determination theory
Acronym MALP
Serial number at source UWS 20321.80786
Study hypothesis Compared with usual practice, Year 8 physical education (PE) lessons in which teachers provide students with choices and explain the relevance of activities will:
1. Increase the percentage of time students spend in moderate-to-vigorous physical activity during physical education (PE) lessons
2. Decrease the percentage of PE lesson time that students spend in sedentary behaviour
3. Increase studentsí autonomous motivation during lessons
4. Decrease studentsí controlled motivation during lessons
5. Increase studentsí perceptions of autonomy, competence, and relatedness during lessons
6. Increase studentsí and independent ratersí perceptions of teachersí autonomy supportive behaviour

The influence of the choice and relevance on studentsí physical activity will be mediated by increases in studentsí autonomy, competence, relatedness and autonomous motivation.
Lay summary Background and study aims
Many Australian youth are not physically active enough to obtain the associated health benefits. The Australian Government-commissioned Crawford Report (2009) emphasised the central role of school physical education (PE) programs in increasing the physical activity levels of youth. Indeed, PE classes encompass virtually all members of an age cohort. Therefore, promoting physical activity through PE has far-reaching implications for millions of Australian youth. Unfortunately, studentsí physical activity and motivation levels in PE classes are often very low. In this study, we will investigate the effect of three motivational teaching strategies on physical activity during Year 8 PE lessons. We will also investigate the impact of these strategies on studentsí feelings and motivation during lessons.

Who can participate?
Male and female teachers and students from five schools in New South Wales, Australia will participate in the study. Students can participate in the study if they are enrolled in a Year PE 8 class taught by a teacher who has volunteered.

What does the study involve?
Sixteen teachers, and 308 students from one of their Year 8 classes, will be randomly allocated as a class to one of four groups, including three experimental groups and a control group. All students will participate in three PE lessons, and data collection will take place only during the first 20 minutes of each lesson. The purpose of the first lesson is to familiarise students and teachers with the study procedures and data collection equipment. In this lesson, students will wear a small physical activity monitor attached to an elastic strap around their waist. Teachers will wear a wireless microphone to record their verbal interactions with students. In the second lesson, students will again wear the physical activity monitor and teachers will have their voices recorded with the wireless microphone. Immediately following the initial 20 minutes of the second lesson, students will complete a questionnaire designed to measure their feelings of confidence, independence and close relationships during the lesson. They will also answer questions about their motivation and their perceptions of their teachersí behavior during the lesson. Before the third lesson, the researchers will provide teachers in the three experimental groups with instructions regarding one motivational teaching strategy. The researchers will ask one group of teachers to make statements to students that explain the rationale behind the activities in class and make it clear how the activities are relevant to studentsí lives. The researchers will ask the second group of teachers to provide their students with opportunities to make choices from options provided by the teacher. The researchers will ask the third group of teachers to provide the students with complete free choice; meaning that equipment will be provided, but the teacher will not provide any instruction. The researchers will ask teachers allocated to the control group to continue with their usual practice. Data collection procedures for the third lesson will be identical to the second lesson. Comparing data collected during the second and third lessons will allow the researchers to understand the effect of these motivational teaching strategies on studentsí physical activity levels, feelings and motivation, as well as perceptions of their teacherís behavior.

What are the possible benefits and risks of participating?
This research will provide us with a greater understanding of the effect of motivational teaching strategies on studentsí physical activity during PE lessons. Students participating in this research will likely experience enhanced motivation and greater physical activity during lessons. Students are unlikely to experience any negative side effects from their participation in this study. Long-term outcomes of future research that builds on the current project could include increased physical activity over a long period of time, leading to improved health.

Where is the study run from?
University of Western Sydney (Australia).

When is the study starting and how long is it expected to run for?
This study will run from October to December 2011.

Who is funding the study?
University of Western Sydney (Australia).

Who is the main contact?
Dr Chris Lonsdale
Ethics approval Human Research Ethics Committee, University of Western Sydney, 12/07/2011, ref: H9171
Study design Cluster randomised controlled trial
Countries of recruitment Australia
Disease/condition/study domain Physical activity
Participants - inclusion criteria 1. Students enrolled in Year 8 Personal Development, Health and Physical Education classes in private secondary schools in metropolitan Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
2. Signed informed consent provided by parent or guardian
3. Signed assent provided by student
Participants - exclusion criteria Students unable to participate in the practical component of Personal Development, Health, and Physical Education classes
Anticipated start date 10/10/2011
Anticipated end date 09/12/2011
Status of trial Completed
Patient information material Not available in web format, please use the contact details below to request a patient information sheet
Target number of participants 308 students, 16 teachers
Interventions All teachers will meet individually with the lead investigator for 20 minutes. This meeting will take place one to two hours before the follow-up lesson. During this meeting, the investigator will ask the teacher to show him the lesson plan from the baseline class or to describe the baseline lesson activities, if a lesson plan is not available. The investigator will then ask the teacher to devise a lesson for the follow-up class that is similar in structure to the baseline class. Teachers in the control arm will receive no further information from the investigator.

Teachers in experimental arms will receive instruction regarding a motivational teaching strategy to use in the follow-up lesson. In one study arm,teachers will be asked to make statements that explain the rationale behind the activities in class and to make it clear how the activites are relevant to the students. In a second study arm, teachers will be asked to provide the students with opportunities to make choices from options provided by the teacher. In the third study arm, teachers will be asked to provide the students with complete free choice; meaning that equipment will be provided, but no instruction by the teacher will take place. The structure of the lesson plan for the follow-up lesson in this arm of the trial will likely not be similar to the structure of the baseline lesson plan.

During the intervention meeting, the investigator will explain:
1. The name of the motivational teaching strategy
2. The definition
3. The rationale behind its use
4. Four examples of how the strategy could be implemented in a physical education lesson

Teachers will be encouraged to outline and record their implementation plans for the follow-up lesson. The investigator will provide suggestions and feedback on these plans.
Primary outcome measure(s) 1. Percent of lesson time spent in moderate-to-vigorous-physical activity: measured at baseline and follow-up using an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer-based monitor
2. Autonomous and controlled motivation: measured at baseline and follow-up using the Situational Motivation Scale
Secondary outcome measure(s) 1. Percent of lesson time spent in sedentary behavior: measured at baseline and follow-up using an Actigraph GT3X accelerometer-based monitor
2. Autonomy, competence, and relatedness: measured at baseline and follow-up using Basic Psychological Needs Satisfaction Scales
3. Autonomy support: measured at baseline and follow-up using the Teacher as Social Context Questionnaire
Sources of funding University of Western Sydney (Australia)
Trial website
Publications 2012 protocol in: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23025261
2013 results in: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24035889
Contact name Dr  Chris  Lonsdale
  Address School of Biomedical and Health Sciences
University of Western Sydney
Locked Bag 1797
  City/town Penrith, NSW
  Zip/Postcode 2751
  Country Australia
  Tel 61435087411
  Email c.lonsdale@uws.edu.au
Sponsor University of Western Sydney (Australia)
  Address Office of Research Services
Locked Bag 1797
  City/town Penrith, NSW
  Zip/Postcode 2751
  Country Australia
  Email C.Charlton@uws.edu.au
  Sponsor website: http://www.uws.edu.au/research/ors
Date applied 01/12/2011
Last edited 15/08/2014
Date ISRCTN assigned 20/02/2012
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