University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Enhancing Student Learning Experiences in Sport Psychology Modules Using Practical Activities

Roberts, Claire-Marie and Barber, Lerverne (2015) Enhancing Student Learning Experiences in Sport Psychology Modules Using Practical Activities. Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching (10).

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The University of Worcester states in its most recent strategic plan (2013 – 2018) a set of enduring values that guide and direct the activities of the institution. The first listed, and perhaps the most important value is the striving to be “an outstanding university at which to be a student”. This is further supplemented by values such as “to inspire our students to reach their full potential through excellent, innovative teaching, scholarship and research” (University of Worcester 2013: p.4). One of the many ways in which the institution strives to provide this outstanding educational experience is through regular engagement, both formal and informal, with students at a number of points in each semester. Regular experiences of collating formal and informal feedback has led to the identification of a common theme amongst Higher National Diploma (HND) students in the Institute of Sport and Exercise Sciences (ISES), where they consistently request ‘more practicals’. The ISES modules however are designed to incorporate a high degree of interaction, practical activities and tasks. This is especially important for those studying at HND level as research suggests differences in learning preferences exist when compared to undergraduate students, the former preferring a more tactile style of learning (Peters et al. 2008). Using an introductory Sport Psychology HND module as an example, practical activities and tasks are fully embedded in the taught sessions to enable contextual links to be made between the learning outcomes and their subsequent use. Examples of these include:
a. interviewing athletes to produce a performance profile (Butler & Hardy 1992);
b. completing psychometric instruments such as the Competitive State Anxiety Inventory-2 (CSAI-2) to measure competitive anxiety in sport (Martens et al. 1990) and demonstrate data collection and construct measurement;
c. performing relaxation interventions on the students to demonstrate how specific techniques (in this instance, decreasing somatic anxiety) might work in practice;
d. demonstrating how observational learning facilitates skill acquisition by creating experimental conditions that the students participate in, in teaching a new skill.
Nevertheless owing to the students' previously stated on-going requests for more practical activities, it became evident that assumptions about what students consider an effective means of experiential or active learning in the context of sport-related disciplines of study needed to be investigated. This is where the opportunity to undertake an action research project arose, this being a practical method commonly employed in pedagogical enquiry to aid reflection on teaching and assessment practice for the purposes of working towards continuous improvement.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information:

Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching (WJLT) is an open-access, peer-reviewed journal published by the University of Worcester to disseminate academic articles, project reports and personal perspectives about Learning and Teaching written by staff associated with the University and its partners.

Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: student engagement, learning preferences, action research, sport psychology, learning, teaching, Worcester Journal of Learning and Teaching
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
L Education > L Education (General)
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Sport and Exercise Science
Related URLs:
Depositing User: Claire-Marie Roberts
Date Deposited: 18 Sep 2015 14:21
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:08

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