G. Faßbeck, R. Prohl

Goethe-University Frankfurt, Institute of Sports Science (GERMANY)
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 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 (for details see Prohl & Gröben, 2010).

Prior knowledge is expected to be a predictor of knowledge gain (among others McNamara & Kintsch, 1996; Renkl, 1996). For this reason, each treatment-group (blended-learning vs. attendence seminar) was subdivided into two sub-groups as to their performance in the baseline test (“high” vs. “low” level of prior knowledge; median-split). The differences in the gain of knowledge (DV) between the treatment groups (IV A) and the sub-groups (IV B) were tested by means of multivariate analysis of variance (2x2 factorial design).

In general the results show main effects for IV A (Treatment, p < .001) and IV B (prior knowledge, p < .003) as well as their interaction (p < .001). Detailed analyses reveal that in the blended-learning-seminar both sub-groups (“high” as well as “low” prior knowledge) significantly gained knowledge (p < .01). The gap between both sub-groups remained unchanged in the final test. In the attendance seminar, the students with “low” prior knowledge significantly increased their level of knowledge as well (p < .01). The “high”-sub-group, however, could not significantly raise their level of knowledge. Consequently, in the final test both sub-groups within the attendance format did no longer differ as to their proficiency.
In the final paper these findings will be presented in full detail and discussed as to the advantages of web-based teaching environments with special focus on self-determined learning within heterogeneous study groups.

McNamara, D. S. & Kintsch, W. (1996). Learning from text: Effects of prior knowledge and text coherence. Discourse Processes, 22, 247–287.
Prohl, R. & Gröben, B (2010). Good-practice-Methoden des erziehenden Sportunterrichts – Kooperatives Lernen. In J. Wiemeyer & J. Hansen (eds.), E-Learning in der Sportwissenschaft. Das hessische Verbundprojekt „HeLPS“. Köln: Strauss.
Renkl, A. (1996). Vorwissen und Schulleistung. In J. Möller & O. Köller (eds.), Emotionen, Kognitionen und Schulleistung (S. 175–190). Weinheim: Beltz-PVU.