During the winter semester 2008/09, the Institute of Sports Science at the Goethe University in Frankfurt (Germany), conducted and evaluated a seminar for sports students called „Good Practice in Physical Education“. This novel teaching format was designed to link didactical skill-acquisition, in terms of situated learning, to the acquisition of theoretical knowledge, which should enhance the professional core competences of future PE teachers. In addition, this pilot seminar was designed to evaluate the usefulness of a blended learning teaching approach, i.e. online learning combined with face-to-face learning, compared to a conventional attendance format. In both the seminar formats students worked together in constant small groups (3-4 persons). The learning results and related variables were assessed using a variety of tests, questionnaires and interviews. The blended-learning-groups (a total of 70 students) had 4 attendance and 9 online sessions, whereas the attendance groups (60 students) had 14 attendance sessions only. In order to make the learning progress between the groups comparable, at the beginning of the seminar the students were allocated as to the results of a baseline test assessing their knowledge about PE. The same test was conducted afterwards to measure the gain in knowledge with regard to the content of the lectures. The ability to transfer the acquired content-knowledge into PE practice (learning transfer) was assessed by means of a poster presentation, which had to be prepared by each student group during the final phase of the seminar. In addition to the performance tests, data concerning the following variables were collected: learning environment, learning style, learning motivation, team competences. Furthermore, group interviews were carried out and videotaped, in order to analyze the effects of team work on learning performance. At present, the following results were obtained: - The students of the blended-learning-seminar gained significantly more content-knowledge than the students of the attendance seminar (p < .01). - This finding is consistent with a significantly higher appreciation of the learning environment by the blended-learning-groups (p < .01). - However, no significant difference in the learning transfer could be found.
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Financed by the National Centre for Research and Development under grant No. SP/I/1/77065/10 by the strategic scientific research and experimental development program:
SYNAT - “Interdisciplinary System for Interactive Scientific and Scientific-Technical Information”.