Ami McDonald

Primary Teacher

Mossend Primary

  • Digital Learning: Health & Wellbeing

Encouraging Physical Activity through Digital Learning


Health and Wellbeing (HWB) is an integral facet of the education system, where all professionals are responsible in promoting this around all aspects of the school (Education Scotland, 2021). Scottish Government (2006) in Building the Curriculum 1, highlights that physical activity (PA) contributes to the wider agenda of HWB and within the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), it is expected that all learners receive daily opportunities to partake in PA, ensuring the wider recommendations of 60 minutes per day is being achieved (World Health Organisation, 2020).  

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement that require energy (Education Scotland, 2021) and schools were able to encourage this through a range of activities such as the daily mile or physical education lessons, to name a few.  As a result of COVID-19, schools were forced to close, and all learning was implemented remotely to progress learners through their education. This caused concerns for the tracking of learners’ PA rates as learners were required to utilise digital devices in order to complete their learning, resulting in more time being spent in front of a screen and increased inactivity. Before COVID-19, there was already a major concern about increasing rates of obesity and mental health due to child inactivity and educators now face the challenge of how to encourage physical activity as part of online learning.   

Many benefits are associated with PA and Shahidi, Williams and Hassani (2020) emphasise the importance of PA on the development of life skills. Education Scotland (2021) also illuminates the increased learning capacity and confidence as a result of PA. An important aspect highlighted by Gilbert (2015), states that the main drawback of online learning as a whole, is the lack of motivation demonstrated by learners. In line with this, White et al. (2020) portrays that regular PA reduces the risk of ill-mental health and there is a close relationship between both mental health and PA as they both affect one another. It was stated that participating in PA during leisure time was most beneficial (White et al., 2020). Educators also face the added challenge of motivating learners to partake in learning as well as keeping physically active. Overall, the evidence portrays the difficulties of monitoring and engaging learners to keep themselves physically active while learning at home. As PA is a key element of life, it is vital that learners continue to be given opportunities to experience the attributes of living a healthy life.  


This practitioner enquiry aimed to encourage learners to keep physically active and investigate the levels of physical activity during online learning.

Download Practitioner Enquiry