1 University of Rome Foro Italico (ITALY)
2 University of Brescia (ITALY)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2017 Proceedings
Publication year: 2017
Pages: 2408-2417
ISBN: 978-84-697-6957-7
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2017.0696
Conference name: 10th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2017
Location: Seville, Spain
The issues dealing with the post-career of athletes have been scarcely studied by European scholars. Nowadays, all European education policies tend to encourage athletes’ attendance of university courses aimed to help them develop life skills and competencies usable in the labor market not only during their professional career (as student-athletes) but also after its inevitable termination.

Many athletes after the termination of their career would want to follow university courses to acquire skills which can make the transition to a new one easier. Nevertheless, post-career athletes face some unique challenges that normal students usually don’t experience. After being engaged for so many years in competitive sports as professionals, post-career athletes can experience problems of solitude and demotivation. As a consequence of all this, many former athletes interested in earning University bachelor’s or master’s degrees tend to leave the university before finishing their courses. This suggests that a university or course has not met their expectations.

For sure, as shown by many studies and researches, the lack of an effective tutoring system is one of the primary causes of this dropout. New Web 2.0-based tutoring and communication tools and mobile learning activities in tutoring online can play an innovative role and an effective function in tutoring post-career athletes who follow university courses.

Starting from this genesis, our study seeks to explore the impact of WhatsApp both as a mobile tutoring system and online learning and teaching set of activities in motivating and supporting post-career athletes. In our study we show the results of an Italian case study in which a group of post-career athletes attending a bachelor’s degree course at Foro Italico University, in Rome, express their opinion about the use of WhatsApp as a tool aimed at tutoring them.

The results from the data collected through a quali-quantitative methodology show that WhatsApp can be, on the one hand, an effective tool to help these former athletes and support them in their efforts to become university students, and to co-work with their mates. On the other hand, that WhatsApp can play an effective role in tutoring them, provided this e-tool can be incorporated into a comfortable learning-teaching and tutoring environment based on the educational model of so-called “positive pedagogy.”
Post-Career, Athletes, Pedagogy, WhatsApp, Tutorship, e-learning.