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An Examination of Learning Profiles in Physical Education

Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Using the model of domain learning as a theoretical framework, the study was designed to examine the extent to which learners’ initial learning profiles based on previously acquired knowledge, learning strategy application, and interest-based motivation were distinctive in learning softball. Participants were 177 sixth-graders from three middle schools. A hierarchical cluster analysis was conducted to determine what kinds of learning profiles would result from the interactions among prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interest. The results revealed that individual learners could be classified into subgroups with distinctive learning characteristics. It is supported that learning in physical education is a progressive process that involves both cognitive and affective dimensions. An effective physical education curriculum should address both knowledge and skill acquisition and motivation simultaneously.

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Examining the Interrelations among Knowledge, Interests, and Learning Strategies

Bo Shen and Ang Chen

Guided by the Model of Domain Learning (MDL), the study was designed to explore the extent of interrelations among prior knowledge, learning strategies, interests, physical engagement, and learning outcomes in a sixth-grade (N = 91) volleyball unit. Pearson product-moment correlations and a path analysis were conducted for the research purpose. The results showed that students’ prior knowledge, learning strategies, and interests were interrelated. Physical engagement and learning outcomes were directly influenced by the interactions among prior knowledge, interests, and learning strategies. The findings in the study support that learning in physical education is domain-specific and a progressive process that encompasses both cognitive and affective components.

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Effects of Self-Efficacy, Body Mass, and Cardiorespiratory Fitness on Exercise Motives in Chinese College Students

Bo Shen and Chiren Xu


Researchers have studied exercise determinants primarily from cognitive and social psychology perspectives, which typically give minimal attention to the body as a physical and biological entity. With the belief that tapping into multidimensional variables would potentially help us better understand motivation in exercise, we designed this study to examine the influences of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness level on Chinese college students’ leisure-time exercise motives.


208 college students completed measures of self-efficacy and exercise motives during regular physical education classes. Their body mass and cardiorespiratory fitness level data were derived from the latest annual physical training test. Multiple regression analyses were conducted to investigate the effects of self-efficacy, body mass, and cardiorespiratory fitness on exercise motives.


Cardiorespiratory fitness level and self-efficacy in exercise significantly contributed to both psychological and interpersonal motives. Body mass was the only significant predictor for body-related motives. However, analyses of health and fitness motives did not result in any significant predictors.


Physical and psychological variables have both independent and specialized functions on exercise motives. Future motivational studies in exercise should pay greater attention to ecological approaches that account for physical, psychological, and social factors.

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Examining Situational Interest in Physical Education: A New Inventory

Hongying Wang, Bo Shen, and Jin Bo

Purpose: With the belief that situational interest (SI) can be characterized as being triggered and maintained, the authors conducted this study to identify the underlying structure of SI and to develop a new measurement in physical education. Method: There were 558 students from two urban high schools in Shanghai, China, who served as participants. The authors developed the Situational Interest Inventory-Physical Education through three systematic stages. Both exploratory factor analysis and confirmatory factor analysis were conducted. Results: An exploratory factor analysis provided preliminary support, with a model comprising three components: triggered SI, maintained SI feeling, and maintained SI value. The three-component model was further corroborated through a confirmatory factor analysis. Its predictive validity was supported with significant correlations to in-class engagement. Conclusion: The findings lend initial evidence to the theoretical mechanism of interest development. Clarifying how SI is related to the mode of teachers’ instruction and learning content may help design effective motivational strategies and nurture long-term individual interest.

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The Role of Cost in Predicting Learning Outcomes in Physical Education: An Expectancy–Value–Cost Model

Bo Shen, Benzheng Li, and Jin Bo

Purpose: While the expectancy–value theory recognizes the significance of cost as an essential component, it has garnered minimal attention in physical education. Utilizing two separate datasets, we explored the degree to which the inclusion of cost in an expectancy–value–cost model could augment its predictive capability. Method: Study 1 utilized a cross-sectional data set (N = 144) to investigate the predictive roles of expectancy belief, task value, and cost on behavioral and emotional engagement. Study 2 employed a longitudinal data set (N = 251) to assess how these variables influenced the hypothetical choice of attending physical education and cardiorespiratory fitness. Results: Cost played a significant role in explaining additional variance, surpassing what could be predicted through expectancy and value. Specifically, cost emerged as a crucial factor in predicting emotional engagement, hypothetical choice, and cardiorespiratory fitness. Conclusion: Incorporating cost as an independent construct can yield valuable supplementary insights into the determinants of students’ learning.

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Curriculum Intervention Research as a Source of Knowledge of Most Worth

Ang Chen, Bo Shen, and Xihe Zhu

A major portion of Catherine Ennis’s scholarship and career was devoted to developing culturally relevant physical education curricula for K–12 students. She held a strong conviction that the efficacy of a curriculum lies in its ability to enhance students’ knowledge and skills of most worth for their lives. The approach she adopted for curriculum development is an evidence-supported curriculum-design process through which a curriculum is put to the rigorous process of intervention research to determine its efficacy. In this article the authors reflect on the experiences they had with her in these curriculum interventions, share the ideas and practices in the research as Ennis envisioned, and discuss challenges and solutions in conducting large-scale, school-based curriculum intervention studies.

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Learning in Physical Education: A Self-Determination Theory Perspective

Haichun Sun, Weidong Li, and Bo Shen

The purpose of this study was to review the literature relevant to learning in physical education (PE) according to the self-determination theory (SDT). In this literature review, we first provide an overview of SDT. Second, we discuss students’ SDT-related motivational profiles in PE. Third, we illustrate the relationships among students’ perceptions of the nature of an autonomy-supportive or controlling learning environment, need satisfaction, and self-determined motivation. Fourth, we explore the impact of SDT on students’ learning in PE with respect to the cognitive, psychomotor, and affective learning domains. Finally, we articulate the pedagogical implications on the basis of the reviewed SDT research and future directions for SDT research in PE.

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Predicting Physical Activity in Arab American School Children

Jeffrey J. Martin, Nate McCaughtry, and Bo Shen

Theoretically grounded research on the determinants of Arab American children’s physical activity is virtually nonexistent. Thus, the purpose of our investigation was to evaluate the ability of the theory of planned behavior (TPB) and social cognitive theory (SCT) to predict Arab American children’s moderate-to-vigorous physical activity (MVPA). Children (N = 348, ages 10–14) completed questionnaires assessing the TPB and SCT constructs as well as MVPA. Using multiple regression analyses we were able to account for 9% of the variance in MVPA. Based on standardized beta-weights, variance accounted for, and the significance of F change, we concluded that SCT variables were better predictors of MVPA compared with the TPB constructs. In particular, barrier self-efficacy was the most critical variable within SCT and supports the potentially valuable role that efficacy cognitions play in promoting MVPA in Arab American children.

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Does Symptom Severity Moderate the Relationship Between Body Mass Index and Motor Competence in Children With Autism Spectrum Disorders? An Exploratory Study

Yu Song, Bo Shen, Liansan Dong, Yanli Pang, and Jin Bo

To date, there has been little research considering both autism spectrum disorder (ASD) symptom severity and motor impairment simultaneously when investigating their associations with obesity. This study was designed to identify the moderating role of symptom severity in the relationship between motor competence and overweight/obesity for children with ASD. Seventy-eight children with a clinical diagnosis were recruited from a large autism rehabilitation center in Wuhan, China. Chi-square, partial correlation, and moderation regression analyses revealed that the prevalence of overweight and obesity was similar regardless of symptom severity. Balance was the only motor skill that correlated with body mass index. Furthermore, symptom severity significantly moderated the correlation. Children with low autism severity might be more likely to demonstrate the relationship between balance and body mass index than those with high autism severity. Combating obesity by enhancing motor competence should cautiously consider personal and environment factors such as individual severity of ASD.

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Gender and Interest-Based Motivation in Learning Dance

Bo Shen, Ang Chen, Hope Tolley, and Kristin A. Scrabis

Guided by the interest-based motivation theory, this study examined the extent to which personal interest and situational interest accounted for boys’ and girls’ learning outcome in a middle school physical education dance unit. Personal and situational interests, physical activity intensity, and skill/knowledge outcome were measured in a random student sample (N = 57). Girls demonstrated higher personal interest in dance than the boys, but both groups were equally motivated with situational interest. Although the girls were not as physically active as boys, their skill/knowledge outcome measures were higher than those of the boys. It appears that gender may have little impact on the motivational effect of situational interest and that girls’ in-class learning might have higher quality than that of boys as a result of higher personal interest. The findings indicate that situational interest may motivate all students, but it is necessary to enhance personal interest in order for them to engage in quality learning.