Motivation and Emotion

, Volume 42, Issue 4, pp 497–512 | Cite as

Motivational predictors of learning strategies, participation, exertion, and performance in physical education: A randomized controlled trial

  • Svein Olav Ulstad
  • Hallgeir Halvari
  • Øystein Sørebø
  • Edward L. Deci
Original Paper


Teachers’ support of student autonomy in physical education (PE) is believed to be important for students’ motivation and outcomes in PE. We tested the hypothesis that an intervention designed to help teachers to be more autonomy supportive in teaching their students to use learning strategies (relative to standard teaching) would increase students’ perceived autonomy support from the teachers, perceived competence, autonomous motivation, use of learning strategies and their exertion, participation, and grades in PE over a school year. We also tested a self-determination theory (SDT) process model. Experimental effects of the intervention yielded significant positive effects on changes in perceived autonomy support, learning strategies defined as absorption and effort regulation, as well as for performance (i.e., grades). In testing the SDT process model with SEM, most of the predicted paths were significantly supported.


Autonomy support Intervention Physical education Learning strategies 


Compliance with ethical standards

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in the study involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. The project is approved by the Norwegian social science data services (NSD). The parents were informed about the project and had to agree to the participation of their children in the project.

Supplementary material

11031_2018_9694_MOESM1_ESM.docx (27 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 26 KB)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physical Education and Sport ScienceNord UniversityLevangerNorway
  2. 2.School of Business and Social SciencesUniversity College of Southeast NorwayHønefossNorway
  3. 3.Department of Clinical and Social Sciences in PsychologyUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  4. 4.Australian Catholic UniversitySydneyAustralia

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