Background/Purpose Active games have been considered to have strong motivational appeal to children to engage in physical activity. The purpose of this study was to examine the sustainability of children's situational interest in active games.
Method Inner-city elementary school students (N = 74) participated in an eight week long active game unit in physical education. Situational interest was measured in novelty, challenge, attention, exploration, instant enjoyment dimensions using the validated 15-item Situational Interest Scale (Sun et al., 2008). Data were collected at the beginning, middle and end of the unit.
Analysis/Results Results from the repeated-measures MANOVA revealed a significant main effect of time (p = .00). A pairwise post-hoc comparison on the time-factor indicates that students' perceived challenge and novelty of active games began to decline significantly (p=.00) at the middle of the unit and continued to decline till the end of the unit (p=.00). Attention and exploration dimensions started to decline from the middle till the end of the unit. Instant enjoyment was the only dimension that was unchanged, indicating that active games did provide enduring enjoyment to children.
Conclusions The findings revealed that students' situation interest gradually decreased over the time in the active game unit. Researchers and teachers need to pay attention to create learning tasks to sustain motivational power of active games. Future research needs to explore optimal strategies to maintain challenge, attention, exploration, and novelty of active games to sustain motivational function of situational interest of active games for children to receive health benefits continuously.
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