Situational interest in physical education: A function of learning task design

UNCG Author/Contributor (non-UNCG co-authors, if there are any, appear on document)
Ang Chen, Professor (Creator)
The University of North Carolina at Greensboro (UNCG )
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Abstract: Situational interest is the appealing effect of unique characteristics students recognize in a learning task during interaction with the task. It occurs when a learning task gives the learner a sense of novelty and challenge, demands high attention and exploration intention, and generates instant enjoyment during the person-task interaction. In this study, a repeated measure research design was used to examine the effects of task design on situational interest and the extent to which the effects were mediated by gender, grade, personal interest, and skill levels. Middle school students (N = 242) evaluated situational interest of four learning tasks with different cognitive and physical demands after having experienced the tasks in their physical education classes. Analyzed data showed that cognitive demand of a learning task played a critical role in generating situational interest. Grade levels, gender, and personal interest mediated the effects of task design on situational interest. But these mediation effects seemed rather limited. Physical skill levels had little influence on the effects of task design on situational interest. The findings seem to suggest that to enhance interestingness of a physical activity task, an option for physical educators may be to increase cognitive demand rather than reduce physical demand.

Additional Information

Research Quarterly for Exercise and Sport, 72, 150-164
Language: English
Date: 2001
motivation, middle school students

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