Health Related Fitness Knowledge (HRFK)

Examining the Use of e-Learning in Secondary Physical Education
Chad M. Killian
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, USA

An invitation to participate in a Blended Learning Research Study

Redefining physical education - what, when, where, how, and with whom learning occurs.

There is evidence to suggest that health-related physical fitness knowledge may play a role in students’ PA behavior. Personal fitness levels may also be related to health-related fitness knowledge. Many secondary physical education students demonstrate low levels of health-related fitness knowledge. Therefore, extending and expanding health-related fitness knowledge learning opportunities, as well as enhancing current health-related fitness knowledge instruction, may be an appropriate point of intervention.
The emergence of e-Learning technologies, and near universal access to these innovations present novel instructional delivery methods for secondary physical education teachers to overcome institutional and instructional barriers to quality physical education. The capacity of e-Learning technologies to provide asynchronous instructional delivery of content may allow secondary physical education teachers to redefine what, when, where, how, and with whom physical education learning occurs.
e-Learning allows teachers to extend, expand, and enhance HRFK learning opportunities without diminishing class time for physical activity.

Are you a high school physical education teacher seeking to:

If so, consider participation in a national study to determine:

Why you should get involved


This study is open to licensed physical education teachers who teach at least 50 high school students per term. Teachers have two options: 1) Full use of blended learning, or; 2) Pre/post term assessments without the use of blended learning.



  • What does it cost to participate?   There are no fees associated with the use of blended learning during the study.
  • Is the study open to public and private schools?   Yes. Charter schools are also eligible.
  • Do I have to change what I teach in PE?   No, you do not have to modify your regularly planned lessons.
  • Does my school have to be 1:1?   No. We anticipate an equal number of 1:1 and non-1:1 schools in the study.
  • What is the criteria for selection in the study?   We are looking for a diverse range of schools based on geography, size, demographics, etc.
  • Will I have access to information about my own students?   Yes, you have real time access to your students' academic performance.
  • What about data security?   No identifying information will be used in the study?
  • Are there any restrictions on the type of physical education classes?   While there are no restrictions, we are most interested in fundamental physical education classes that are typically required for diploma.
  • What type of reports will I receive?   A course summary will be provided that can be used for future curriculum planning and/or as a teacher evaluation artifact (if you so choose).
  • Do I have to complete forms or reports?   No. There is no additional work required for your participation. An optional phone interview may be requested. You will be compensated for your time should you agree to an interview.



    Contact Gary Lemke or Chad Killian to schedule an informational interview. Contact information below.

    Background / Introduction

    An epidemic of inactivity exists today, especially concerning today's youth. Childhood and adolescent overweight and obesity rates have presently reached alarming proportions, and when combined with unprecedented levels of sedentary behavior, indicate a bleak future for today's school-aged population. The increases in obesity and inactivity represent a concerning trend, given that habitual inactivity is often associated with a variety of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, a variety of cancers, and increased incidents of Type II diabetes (I. M. Lee et al., 2012). Youth who are chronically inactive are at higher risk of developing these health problems, which can last long into adult life and can have a major impact on individuals’ overall physical, emotional, and financial well-being (Dietz, 1998). In addition to having a greater risk of developing a number of physiologically related morbidities, overweight and obese youth are more likely to display a variety of psychological challenges like lower self-esteem (Strauss, 2000) and a higher likelihood of experiencing depression (Luppino et al., 2010).

    Conversely, individuals who participate in regular physical activity (PA) often experience a lower probability of being obese and developing cardiovascular disease (Berlin & Colditz, 1990). Consistently active people also experience a decreased prevalence of diabetes (Sigal, Kenny, Wasserman, Castaneda-Sceppa, & White, 2006) and display lower instances of various negative psychological conditions, such as anxiety and depression (Biddle & Asare, 2011). Therefore, implementing strategies to enhance youth physical education and health-related fitness learning opportunities and increase youth PA levels could facilitate the adoption of lifelong healthful habits.


    Despite the inadequate allocation of physical education time in most schools, state standards and corresponding school curricula inherently reflect the expectation and assumption that students will achieve the standards and as a result, demonstrate gains in fitness and motor competence, health-related fitness knowledge, positive attitudes about PA.

    The contradiction between expectations and actual opportunities to learn marginalizes the importance of quality physical education at a time when student MVPA levels are dangerously low (Trost et al., 2002), student health-related fitness knowledge is inadequate (Keating, Harrison, et al., 2009) and youth overweight and obesity levels are at an all-time high (Ogden, Carroll, Kit, & Flegal, 2014).

    Physical education teachers have recognized this contradiction by identifying limited instructional time as a primary inhibitor to implementing quality physical education instruction (Boyle et al., 2008; Jenkinson & Benson, 2010). The teachers in this study, who worked in schools with limited physical education time, recognized the importance of providing enriching instructional experiences that addressed each of the psychomotor, cognitive, social, and affective learning domains. Although they noted their contexts often prevented them from doing so.

    Similar situations that exist across the United States likely result in sacrificed MVPA opportunities to allow teachers to deliver in-depth health-related fitness knowledge or affective instruction. In other cases, cognitive and affective objectives may be overlooked in favor of providing students with increased MVPA (Hodges, Kulinna, & Lee, 2017).

    Either circumstance results in watered-down physical education experiences for students, in which optimal learning and MVPA opportunities are unlikely to occur due to time constraints despite the best efforts of the physical education teacher.

    Administrators, school board members, and legislators often make policy decisions that impact school wellness. As a result, physical education teachers likely have limited power to change decisions that reduce physical education time, for example. Teachers do have the power to make curricular and instructional decisions, however. There are a variety of teacher-related factors contribute to the quality of learning that occurs within a physical education lesson and the amount of MVPA opportunities available for students (Chow et al., 2009).

    Activity time in secondary physical education has historically been measured at well below the recommended 50% MVPA per lesson level (Fairclough & Stratton, 2005), specifically in schools that serve low-income communities (Sutherland et al., 2016). One primary contributor to low MVPA is inefficient instructional delivery, something over which physical education teachers have control. Some secondary physical education studies reported high proportions (> 50%) of total lesson time spent delivering instruction, which inherently limits student MVPA opportunities (e.g. Chow, Mckenzie, & Louie, 2009; Curtner‐Smith, Chen, & Kerr, 1995a; Fairclough & Stratton, 2005). Low MVPA as a result of inefficient instructional delivery is a clear concern. It can lead to diminished physical education experiences for students, given the movement-based mission of quality physical education.

    The idea that quality physical education should provide students with maximal MVPA opportunities to serve a public health purpose has gained traction in recent years with the emergence of the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Plan (CSPAP) (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], 2013) and Health Optimizing Physical Education (HOPE) (Metzler, McKenzie, van der Mars, Barrett-Williams, & Ellis, 2013a, 2013b). These frameworks for physical education seek to improve public health by increasing student MVPA. The focus to improve MVPA opportunities during physical education is consistent with the movement-based purpose of the field and aligns with the view that physical education is a public health service.

    For more information, contact:

    Chad Killian
    Doctoral Student, Research/Teaching Assistant
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
    +1 717-572-8789

    Amy Woods
    Professor, Department Head
    University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
    Department of Kinesiology and Community Health
    +1 217.333.9602

    Gary Lemke
    Interactive PE
    Connected Educator
    +1 317.523.6940