Study Habits and Learning Experiences of Undergraduate Students in a Physical Education Major Online Kinesiology Course


  • Takahiro Sato Kent State University
  • Douglas W. Ellison Kent State University
  • Emi Tsuda West Virginia University



online education, physical education majors, motor development, study habits, theory of transactional distance


This study investigated undergraduate students’ study habits and learning experiences in an online lifespan motor development course. The study was based on the theory of transactional distance. Seven undergraduate physical education majors enrolled in an online course at a Midwestern public university in the United States participated in this study. Data were collected via face-to-face interviews, e-mail communication, bulletin board discussion logs, computer-based quizzes and exams, and a research writing project. Four interrelated themes underpinned by the theory of transactional distance emerged. Data were interpreted through a constant comparative method including (a) transition from experiential to visual learning, (b) how to use a textbook in an online course, (c) computer-based test anxieties, and (d) social justice and diversity sensitivity. The ideal online course puts a set of student tasks (i.e., lectures, projects, and assignments) at the center of the course to constitute the learning experiences of students either independently or collaboratively. Although the study was conducted in the context of the lifespan motor development online course, the recommendations can be applied across different content areas in the kinesiology field.Subscribe to TPE

Author Biographies

Takahiro Sato, Kent State University

School of Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum StudiesAssociate Professor of Adapted Physical Education

Douglas W. Ellison, Kent State University

School of Teaching, Learning, & Curriculum StudiesAssistant Professor of Physical Education

Emi Tsuda, West Virginia University

College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Assistant Professor of Physical Education