Can physical education and physical activity outcomes be developed simultaneously using a game-centered approach?

Andrew Miller, Erin Christensen, Narelle Eather, Shirley Gray, John Sproule, Jeanne Keay, David Lubans

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

The primary objective of this study was to evaluate the efficacy of a pilot intervention using a gamecentered approach for improvement of physical activity (PA) and physical education (PE) outcomes simultaneously, and if this had an impact on enjoyment of PE. A group-randomized controlled trial with a 7-week wait-list control group was conducted in one primary school in the Hunter Region, NSW, Australia. Participants (n ¼ 107 students; mean age ¼ 10.7 years, SD 0.87) were randomized by class group into the Professional Learning for Understanding Games Education (PLUNGE) pilot intervention (n ¼ 52 students) or the control (n ¼ 55) conditions. PLUNGE involved 6 60 min PE lessons based on game-centered curriculum delivered via an in-class teacher mentoring program.
Students were assessed at baseline and 7-week follow-up for fundamental movement skills (FMS) of throw and catch, game play abilities of decision making, support and skill performance; in-class PA; and enjoyment of PA. Linear mixed models revealed significant group-by-time intervention effects (p < 0.05) for throw (effect size: d ¼ 0.9) and catch (d ¼ 0.4) FMS, decision making (d ¼ 0.7) and support (d ¼ 0.9) during game play, and in-class PA (d ¼ 1.6). No significant intervention effects (p > 0.05) were observed for skills outcome during game play (d ¼ 0.2) or student enjoyment (d ¼ 0.1). Game-centered pedagogy delivered via a teacher professional learning program was efficacious in simultaneously improving students’ FMS skills, in-class PA and their decision making and support skills in game play.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-133
JournalEuropean Physical Education Review
Issue number1
Early online date13 Jul 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2016

Keywords / Materials (for Non-textual outputs)

  • Physical activity
  • physical education
  • fundamental movement skills
  • professional development,
  • motor skills
  • game-centered approach
  • primary school
  • nonlinear pedagogy


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