Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Physical Activity Courses on Undergraduates' Physical Activity Levels and Constructs of Self-Determination Theory
White, T. Isaac
Regular physical activity (PA) has been shown to reduce the risk of developing chronic diseases and can positively impact mental well-being, cognitive abilities, and academic performance. Public health recommendations state that these positive outcomes can be experienced by completing at least 150 minutes of moderate PA each week. Approximately one-third of undergraduates do not meet these recommendations, thus do not experience the positive health outcomes associated with regular PA. Physical activity courses that implement Self-Determination Theory (SDT) based strategies have been shown to improve PA levels by fulfilling the needs of competency, autonomy, and relatedness (Juwono & Szabo, 2020; Teixeira et al., 2012). Ongoing global health events and shifts in higher education pedagogy have increased the utilization of online courses. PA interventions delivered online and Face-to-Face (F2F) have been shown to positively impact PA levels (Chatzisarantis & Hagger, 2009; Davies et al., 2012; Ha et al., 2020; Mitchell et al., 2019). However, the number of studies comparing the effectiveness of the delivery methods of university based physical activity courses is limited. PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to compare the effectiveness of a physical activity course delivered via two modalities, online and F2F. The effectiveness of both modalities was examined through the modalities' ability to increase physical activity levels, facilitate a needs supportive environment, satisfy the needs of Self-Determination Theory, and increase autonomous motivation for regular physical activity. METHODS: A quasi-experiment was completed in order to address the purpose of this study. Participants (N=125) were enrolled in either the online or F2F course over the duration of a 16-week semester. Questionnaires were administered at baseline, midpoint, and endpoint. The short-form 7-day IPAQ was utilized to assess PA levels. Needs Support was examined through nine items by Standage et al. (2005) and a modified version of the Learning Climate Questionnaire was employed (Williams & Deci, 1996). The Psychological Needs Satisfaction in Exercise (PNSE) scale was utilized to assess SDT needs satisfaction. Needs satisfaction was also examined through items created by Standage et. al. (2005), Richer & Vallerand (1998), and McAuley et al. (1989). The Index of Autonomous Function (IAF) was implemented to assess participants levels of autonomous motivation for PA. Independent T-Tests and repeated measures ANOVAs were completed as part of the statistical analysis. RESULTS: Total MET minutes of PA increased at midpoint and endpoint for both modalities. A significant change in total MET minutes of physical activity was observed in the F2F modality at midpoint (p=0.03) and endpoint (p=0.04). No significant changes were observed in the online modality. The difference in total MET minutes of physical activity observed between the groups was insignificant at all time points. Competency support and satisfaction scores remained constant for both modalities. The F2F modality was more effective in facilitating an autonomy supportive environment at midpoint (p=0.04). F2F autonomy satisfaction scores increased significantly over the duration of the course (p=0.05). Both modalities facilitated a relatedness supportive environment. However, both modalities relatedness satisfaction scores decreased. Online participants' scores on the PNSE relatedness satisfaction scale decreased over the duration of the course (p=0.01). F2F participants' relatedness satisfaction scores decreased significantly when examining all time points (p=0.002). A significant difference was also noted between the group's scores on the relatedness satisfaction scale at all time points (p=0.005, p<0.001, p=0.009). Autonomous motivation for regular PA remained constant in both modalities. CONCLUSION: Both modalities increased physical activity levels of participants. However, only the F2F modality's increases in physical activity levels was significant. Needs support and satisfaction scores indicate that neither modality successfully facilitated an encompassing needs supportive environment, resulting in neither modality fulfilling all three needs of SDT. It is likely that the inability to fulfill these needs resulted in neither modality impacting participants' autonomous motivation for regular PA. The results of this study highlight the need for both online and F2F physical activity courses to implement effective needs supportive strategies in an effort to increase regular PA. This study calls attention to the need for physical activity courses to assess strategies implemented, and address shortcomings if necessary.
White, T. Isaac. (April 2022). Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Physical Activity Courses on Undergraduates' Physical Activity Levels and Constructs of Self-Determination Theory (Master's Thesis, East Carolina University). Retrieved from the Scholarship. (http://hdl.handle.net/10342/10700.)
White, T. Isaac. Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Physical Activity Courses on Undergraduates' Physical Activity Levels and Constructs of Self-Determination Theory. Master's Thesis. East Carolina University, April 2022. The Scholarship. http://hdl.handle.net/10342/10700. February 26, 2024.
White, T. Isaac, “Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Physical Activity Courses on Undergraduates' Physical Activity Levels and Constructs of Self-Determination Theory” (Master's Thesis., East Carolina University, April 2022).
White, T. Isaac. Comparison of Online and Face-to-Face Physical Activity Courses on Undergraduates' Physical Activity Levels and Constructs of Self-Determination Theory [Master's Thesis]. Greenville, NC: East Carolina University; April 2022.
East Carolina University