According to Masters (2010) sitting can do more harm than good to Americans who lead sedentary lifestyles. Buckley and Cameron (2011) found that individuals inexperienced in exercise who were under a time pressure disengaged from exercise automatically. The Action Research (AR) used social interaction, online training, and personalized sessions to encourage and motivate sedentary individuals to improve their health lives.
Research from the Literature Review (LR) looked into Multiple Intelligence (MI) theory, professional development, and social networking and their roles in learning in order to report the most effective and beneficial methods for personal development. It was confirmed that alternative teaching methods based on MI theory improved learning on different levels (Schrand, 2008); AR participants were enthusiastic about working out online and enjoyed the personalized attention within the small group. The LR also confirmed that activities and environments conducive to professional development influenced personal development (Koster, Dengerink, Korthagen & Lunenberg, 2008); the AR echoed similar findings where participants who found the work outs to be fun, effective, and time-saving automatically adopted such regimens to do during their own personal time. Finally, the LR confirmed that social acts that bring out self-awareness and interpersonal understanding were achieved using Web 2.0 technologies (Chi-Hsiung, Blocher & Roberts, 2008); in the AR, participants used Google+ Hangouts primarily to interact with others and work out together as a group, and they also used other Web 2.0 tools to track personal progress and achieve individual goals.
The outcomes of the first and second implementation cycles proved to be successful in meeting the needs of participants. Those who were demotivated to join or travel to a gym found the in-home workout sessions particularly useful in their busy work schedules. Based on feedback elicited after each workout session, the AR helped participants jumpstart a healthier lifestyle by allowing group interactivity and accountability to facilitate an environment conducive to it. The LR reported that time pressure was a major turn-off and ultimately turned away potential persons from a healthier lifestyle. However, both cycles proved that in the presence of time pressure, accountability kept participants coming back because the workout experience was fun, enjoyable, and engaged all the senses and various intelligences; elicited a positive physical and emotional response; and were personalized and interactive.
Google+ Hangouts workout sessions were very effective because the personalization involved helped build a community of practice that was free and totally independent from the gym experience. In addition to this free interactivity, cycle improvements helped fuel a more memorable workout experience. According to participant feedback, real-world adoption of healthy habits like working out more frequently on one’s own personal time or embracing suggested diets could potentially happen.
Although both implementation cycles had positive outcomes and provided evidence that the AR confirmed LR findings, implementing a “Perfectish Cycle 3” helped further refine the research. In this third cycle, a learning management system (LMS) was considered that would allow for a more organized central hub that participants could access to review workout criteria and document their progress. The LMS as a storage space would also house the tools, resources, presentations and helpful checklists to ensure personal success. Schoology was the LMS of choice because of its clean and simple user interface, and it had several features that supported the LR. An LMS is very engaging and would continue to encourage a community of practice outside of the traditional setting (classroom or gym); it would also provide instructors and participants a place to further personalize their learning efforts and communicate effectively with each other.