Wellness NutriFit Online Learning in Physical Education for High School Students
Understanding the learners’ perceptions of how online delivery is affecting their learning will help provide instructors with information to effectively design and use online delivery strategies (Gallini & Barron, 2001). The purpose of this pilot study was to examine the learning and perceptions of students and their instructor during online fitness and nutrition units. The study participants were 19 high school students enrolled in a semester-long wellness course (10 males, 9 females; average age: 16 years, 2 months), and their teacher. The online units lasted 2 weeks each with a 3-week activity component interval in between. Student and instructor perceptions of the online instruction were examined through interviews and surveys. The majority of students (92%, n = 12) indicated that they were able to perform basic operations on their computers and valued the importance of technology in learning and finding employment. Student achievement was measured using a knowledge test and course assignments. A dependent t test on pretest and posttest scores showed a significant gain in student knowledge. Student perceptions of online learning were mixed. On the positive side, they indicated online instruction was suitable for some learning styles, focused their learning better, and allowed them to work at their own pace and at home. Yet, they had problems navigating the technology, were unclear about which content would be assessed and missed contact with their teacher and peers. The instructor had similar perceptions. She felt disconnected from her students and not in control, got behind in her grading and belatedly realized she could have helped her students by interacting more online. Despite mostly positive responses after the first unit, students and instructor ultimately favored a mixed instructional format using online and face-to-face instruction.