An overview of the iPLAY program: an internet-based professional learning program designed to assist primary school teachers promote physical activity, motivation, and fundamental movement skills in young people

Year: 2018

Author: Lonsdale, Chris, Sanders, Taren, Bennie, Andrew, Lubans, David, Kirsten, Cohen

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

iPLAY is a whole-of-school blended learning program for primary school teachers. It is designed to positively influence teaching practice in physical education (PE) and sport settings by promoting physical activity, motivation, and fundamental movement skills in primary school aged children. This presentation focuses on the educational framework underpinning the iPLAY program, and briefly explores how teachers in NSW primary schools have adopted and implemented iPLAY strategies. iPLAY was developed based on a series of evidence-based school physical activity, motivation, and fundamental movement skills programs that were delivered in primary and secondary schools located in low socioeconomic areas across NSW. The iPLAY program has been designed for online delivery so as to increase program flexibility and maximise scalability. After an initial face-to-face or online workshop, classroom teachers are asked to complete eight online modules (30 mins each) and implement strategies relating to three components: (1) quality PE and school sport, (2) classroom energisers (i.e., physical activity breaks during academic lessons), and (3) physically active homework. At the start of each module, teachers report their recent implementation of these three components. The iPLAY program has received strong interest from primary schools across NSW and will be delivered in up to 180 schools over the next three years. An initial cohort began iPLAY training in 2016 by attending the face-to-face workshop or completing an online version of the workshop. Subsequently, 73 teachers from eight schools have commenced the online modules, with 57 teachers having completed all eight online modules (78% completion rate). From this cohort, 58% reported delivering at least 150 minutes of PE or school sport lessons per week. This latter standard (150 mins/week) meets government policy requirements for physical activity delivery in primary schools. 95% of teachers reported implementing at least one classroom energiser per day and 79% assigned physically active homework at least once per week. The findings from our preliminary delivery of the iPLAY program are promising and suggest that a whole-of-school physical activity promotion program can be feasibly delivered using a blended-learning format.