Self-Regulated Skill Strategies (e.g. Cognition, Metacognition, Study Skills) and Physical Activity Interventions to Improve Student Learning and Academic Performance in Introductory Exercise Physiology Classes

Introduction: Students who display higher self-regulated skill strategies demonstrate higher academic achievement than those who are less self-regulated. Physical activity has been shown to improve academic achievement and cognitive outcomes. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect of self-regulated skill strategy interventions (SSSI) and self-regulated skill strategy interventions + physical activity interventions (SSSI+PAI) on student metacognitive awareness (MA), metacognitive strategy use (MSU) and academic performance (AP) in physiology of exercise classes. Methods: Twenty-one CSUN kinesiology students (6 Males and 13 Females) enrolled in an exercise physiology course (KIN 346) participated. Participants were randomized into one of two treatment groups (SSSI and SSSI+PAI). SSSI received a self-regulated skill strategy intervention that focused on improving overall cognitive, metacognitive, and study skill development. Meanwhile, group SSSI+PAI received the same treatment as group SSSI, in addition, they were provided with a physical activity intervention that focused on teaching the benefits that physical activity has on overall cognitive function and academic performance. Furthermore, group SSSI+PAI was supplemented with weekly exercise programs to facilitate the use of physical activity. Results: A two-way mixed ANOVA was conducted to investigate the impact of time, grouping, and interaction on MA and MSU. In order to examine AP, a one-way ANOVA was conducted to investigate the difference in the post-grade (self-reported current grade obtained in the class) between the SSSI group and the SSSI+PAI group. There were no significant differences found among group interventions and post-grade obtained in the class, (F(1,17) = .020, p = .890). Conclusion: The SSSI and SSSI+PAI improved their overall scores in the declarative knowledge and planning subscales of the MAI questionnaire and the global reading strategies and support reading strategies subscales of the MARSI questionnaire. The SSSI group improved their score for conditional knowledge significantly more than the SSSI+PAI group. There were no significant differences between the SSSI and SSSI+PAI for academic performance. Future research should include a more subjects and a control group, provide a longer intervention, and more closely monitor the physical activity.