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Leadership Summit
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Table3: How to Coach the Mind, Body, and Spirit in an Online Environment

Location: W179a, Table 3

Listen and learn

Listen and learn : Research paper

Monday, June 25, 8:30–9:30 am
Location: W179a, Table 3

Dr. Lucretia Fraga   Dr. Sandra Guzman Foster   Tracy Hesson  
Are you looking for ways to help your athletic coaches use technology in meaningful ways? The use of technology when coaching athletes is something that is rarely discussed. This presentation we will explore how one coach supports her athletes by using GSuite to train their mind, body, and spirit.

Skill level: Beginner
Attendee devices: Devices not needed
Focus: Digital age teaching & learning
Topic: Instructional design and delivery
Grade level: 6-12
Subject area: Health and physical education
ISTE Standards: For Coaches:
Digital Age Learning Environments
  • Coach teachers in and model use of online and blended learning, digital content, and collaborative learning networks to support and extend student learning as well as expand opportunities and choices for online professional development for teachers and administrators.
For Educators:
  • Use technology to create, adapt and personalize learning experiences that foster independent learning and accommodate learner differences and needs.
For Students:
Empowered Learner
  • Students use technology to seek feedback that informs and improves their practice and to demonstrate their learning in a variety of ways.

Proposal summary


Digital tools like GSuite can help to support student learning in a variety of ways. These tools have been associated most often with content area teachers. However, the use of digital tools like Gsuite seem to have missed the realm of athletic coaching. For many coaches, the use of training logs to coach athletes can seem to some as a new strategy. This coaching strategy may be new for some while for others it may not. This kind of coaching or learning environment can help athletes become reflective of their own training and performance as well as a way to receive personalized support from their coach. Creating a coaching or learning environment that supports high quality reflective practices is a standard by which many coaches strive for on a daily basis. Creating this coaching environment in a digital format still has much to be considered.

Online learning environments can be supported through a social constructivist and transformative lens. Each of these theories have segments of building groups through exchanging words, talking about, and reflecting to enable students to learn (Vygotsky, 1978 & Mezirow, 1997). Learning in an online environment seems to have developed quickly in the previous couple of years. There is indication that many K-12 schools expect teachers to learn a variety of approaches to engage and support student learning while using digital tools.

Vygotsky (1978) believed that learning environments should be created with opportunities for students to develop meaning by dialoguing, discussing, and debating with other learners. This social interaction creates meaning from current and prior knowledge, thus deepening understanding and extending knowledge for the students. The learning activities are authentic. Learners are actively involved in constructing knowledge of a topic using communication and social interactions with peers (Conole, Dyke, Oliver, & Seale, 2004; Neo, 2008; Siemens, 2004; Snyder, 2009).

Transformative learning theory has been around more than 25 years. Edward Taylor (2007) looks at the data available from 1999 to 2005 on the subject of transformative learning theory. Taylor states it is a theory that is “uniquely adult, abstract and idealized, grounded in the nature of human communications” (p. 174) with reflection a critical criteria of the transformative theory.

The use of digital training logs provided students the ability to dialogue, and discuss their own training with their coach. Therefore, social constructivist theory combined with transformative learning theory was used to frame the study.


A qualitative research design was used to explore the ways in which using digital training logs increased the participation and quality of reflective training logs for athletes and coaches in one high school in the southwest. Student learning logs, both spiral bound and digital format were collected from current athletes and former athletes. Grounded theory along with thematic content analysis was used to analyze the data. Thematic analysis is useful in capturing the complexities of meaning within a textual data set. The analysis of texts produced by athletes allowed the researchers to make inferences about the broader context of their reflections. For this study, purposeful sampling was utilized and all athletes’ learning logs were examined and analyzed. The following research questions guided the study:

1. In what ways, does providing digital communication tools increase participation for athletes and the coach when reflecting in their training logs?
2. In what ways, does providing digital communication tools increase the quality of reflections provided by the athletes and coach in their training logs?


reliminary results indicated that providing digital access to training logs increased the participation and quality in the kinds of reflections turned in by student athletes as well as by the coach. These results showed that students felt more apt to write freely and with fervor in a digital learning environment. Athletes’ reflections increased in length from their paper journals. In addition, coach’s responses to the athletes also increased in length.

The overall quality of the reflections indicated that when students were able to type their responses they were more inclined to describe thoroughly the way they felt during practice, how they felt in the middle of races, as well as how they felt after each. More specifically, athletes were able to describe how their legs, shins or Achilles felt while running. Furthermore, the coach also provided more detailed feedback and support from the athletes’ responses. She was able to tell them very specifically why they may be feeling that way they did and how to help remedy the cause. She was able to help them in the mental aspect of training, practice and races. Finally, through the use of these digital tools many of these athletes found success in their sport.


This study has implications for finding innovative ways to provide opportunities for transformative dialogue between student/athlete and teacher/coach via digital tools like Gsuite. The results of this study provides an excellent example for coaches and/or teachers who are considering how they can utilize digital tools as well as take advantage of the mobile devices most student own for reflection and to train athletes’/students’ mind, body, and spirit. Finally, many recent graduates entering the field of coaching are well prepared to train athletes physical abilities. This study has implications to support new inexperienced coaches to better understand how to train and work not only in strengthening athletes’ bodies and physical condition but also their minds.


Conole, G., Dyke, M, Oliver, M., & Seale, J., (2004). Mapping pedagogy and tools for effective learning design. Computers & Education, 43(1/2), 17-33.

Mezirow, J. (1997). Transformative learning: Theory to practice. In P. Cranton (Ed.), New directions for adult and continuing education: No. 74. Transformative learning in action: Insights from practice (pp. 5-12). San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Neo, M. (2005). Web-enhanced learning: Engaging students in constructivist learning. Compus-Wide Information Systems, 22(1), 4-14. doi: 10.1108/10650740510574375.

Siemens, G. (2005). Connectivism: A learning theory for the digital age. International Journal of Instructional Technology and Distance Learning, 2(1), 3-10.

Snyder, M. (2009). Instructional-design theory to guide the creation of online learning communities for adults. TechTrends: Linking Research & Practice to Improve Learning, 53(1), 45-57.

Taylor, E. (2007, March). An update of transformative learning theory: a critical review of the empirical research (1999-2005). International Journal of Lifelong Education, 26(2), 173-191.

Vygotsky, L. (1978). Interaction between learning and development. Readings on the development of children, 23(3), 34-41.

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Dr. Lucretia Fraga, The University of the Incarnate Word
Tracy Hesson, John Paul Stevens High School - NISD

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