Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
ISSN: 1303 - 2968   
Ios-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
Androit-APP Journal of Sports Science and Medicine
©Journal of Sports Science and Medicine (2021) 20, 110 - 125   DOI:

Review article
What Actually Differs between Traditional Teaching and Sport Education in Students’ Learning Outcomes? A Critical Systematic Review
Cristiana Bessa1, Peter Hastie2, Ana Ramos1, Isabel Mesquita1, 
Author Information
1 Centre for Research, Education, Innovation and Intervention in Sport (CIFI2D), Faculty of Sport, University of Porto, Portugal
2 Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, United States

Isabel Mesquita
✉ Ph.D. Rua Dr. Plácido Costa, 91, 4200-450 Porto, Portugal
Publish Date
Received: 09-09-2020
Accepted: 13-12-2020
Published (online): 01-03-2021
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This systematic review aimed to examine the main findings concerning to the investigations focused on compare, within Physical Education context, the influence of Sport Education (SE) and Traditional Teaching (TT) on students’ learning outcomes. A literature search was conducted on nine electronic databases (PubMed, Google Scholar, Web of Science, SCOPUS, Academic Search Ultimate, ERIC, Education Source, APA PsycINFO and APA PsycARTICLES). Inclusion criteria were defined before the selection process. Accordingly, were only included articles that (i) were published in peer-reviewed international journals indexed in Journal Citation Reports or Scientific Journal Rankings; (ii) were available in full-text; (iii) were published in English, Portuguese or Spanish; (iv) were performed within Physical Education context; and (v) provided specifically a comparison between the effects of SE and TT on students’ learning outcomes. Globally, twenty-eight studies met the inclusion criteria. The manuscripts’ methodological quality was assessed through Downs and Black checklist, with all studies displaying moderate quality. Results showed that comparisons among SE and TT tend to analyze team sports activities sampling high-school students via quasi-experimental designs, with more than half of them were published over the past five years. Also, these investigations typically focused on the differences between both models on the development of personal and social skills, as well as its impact on the motor and cognitive domains. In this respect, although the results tend to point out increases in both SE and TT, superior values are achieved when SE is implemented. The analysis of the teaching-learning process using alternative research methods and designs (i.e., experimental studies, qualitative data, longitudinal analysis, action-research and case studies), longer units with appropriate planning, and the report of model’s fidelity so that robust findings can endorse the teachers’ praxis, must be a concern in future studies.

Key words: Instructional models, physical education, comparative analysis, sport pedagogy, teacher-centered approach, student-centered approach

           Key Points
  • Comparisons among SE and TT tend to analyze team sports activities by sampling high-school students in co-educational classes via quasi-experimental designs.
  • More than half of the studies that compares SE and TT were published over the past five years.
  • Overall, the variables analyzed are related with the development of students’ personal and social skills, as well as its motor and cognitive development.
  • Although the results tend to point out increases in both SE and TT, superior achievements are observed when SE is implemented.
  • Half of the studies did not establish the fidelity of the model implementation.
  • Future studies should consider other methodological procedures and research designs, as well as longer units, in order to deep the understandings about the impact of the different models on students learning outcomes.
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