New memory and attention training model to complement elective academic physical education and sports toolkit

PhD, Associate Professor V.P. Simen1
PhD N.V. Vasilyeva1
PhD N.A. Matveyeva1
1Yakovlev Chuvash State Pedagogical University, Cheboksary

Corresponding author: simen.vladimir@yandex.ru

Objective of the study was to develop theoretical and practical provisions for and test benefits of a new memory and attention training model to complement the elective physical education and sports toolkit at universities.

Methods and structure of the study. Based on our prior studies, we designed a new memory and attention training model for university students applicable in the elective academic physical education and sport service. The new memory and attention training model is dominated by special physical training tools to facilitate progress in the attention control and memorizing skills, including a range of problem-solving, hierarchical and ordering practices to improve attention, plus traditional fitness exercises with the verbal and practical instructor’s assistance in difficult traditional fitness exercises and active developmental games.

The students’ progress in the elective memory and attention training model piloting experiment was tested by the Bourdon's proofreading test, A.R. Luria test and Schulte tables on the pre- and post-experimental basis to rate the memorizing and attention control skills. We sampled for the experiment university students (n=107) and split them up into Experimental and Reference Groups (EG, RG) of 53 and 54 people, respectively. The pre-experimental tests found the groups virtually equal in the attention control and memorizing skills. The EG was trained as required by the new memory and attention training model and the RG was trained by the traditional physical education and sport service in September-December 2019, with the both group trainings run twice a week to total 72 academic hours.

Results and discussion. Most beneficial for the memory and attention training purposes are known to be aerobic practices including running, walking, swimming, skiing, etc., conditional on the training time and intensity being well customized to the daily regimens, semester periods, etc., with a special priority to the natural individual resources and hygienic factors. The new memory and attention training model of our design prioritizes special physical training practices to facilitate progresses in the attention control and memorizing skills by problem-solving, hierarchy-building and ordering practices, plus traditional fitness exercises with the verbal and practical instructor’s assistance in difficult traditional fitness exercises and active developmental games. The new memory and attention training elective physical education and sports model for universities was tested beneficial.

The new memory and attention training model implementation algorithm prioritized the following: attention control and memorizing skills tests; sample grouping by gender and primary attention control and memorizing skills subgroups for customized services; attention control and memorizing progress tests in the trainings; and special warm-up, workout and special physical training practices to facilitate individual progress.

Keywords: university students, elective physical education and sports courses, forms and methods of work, attention, visual and auditory memory.

Background. The young people’s adaptation to the modern academic learning and living stressors is known to expose them to multiple risks of the mental/ emotional/ nervous health disorders with the associating attention control and memory issues and, hence, academic regresses or backlogs.

Many researchers emphasize potential – and still largely underestimated – benefits of the modern physical training tools for the individual mental functions [1] and provide practical evidence of how an intellectual progress may be encouraged by special physical training service [2]. Some studies demonstrate correlations of many mental process aspects (including attention control, memorizing and data processing capacity etc.) with the individual physical fitness and functionality [3], [4]; and underline the expressed positive correlation between the well-designed and managed physical activity and the data processing and analyzing abilities [5]. The studies recommend working capacity of the brain and nervous system being protected and improved by a range of health-sensitive aerobic exercises including running, walking, swimming, skiing, etc. [6].

It is widely assumed at this juncture that habitual physical training facilitates individual intellectual progress, although the relevant study reports give little if any attention to the physical education and sports service methods and tools most beneficial for the memory and attention training purposes at universities. Such methods still need to be offered and their benefits tested. The shortage of efficient memory and attention training service within the academic physical education and sports curricula creates many problems for the memory and attention training service development attempts to complement and improve the existing elective academic physical education and sports toolkit.

Objective of the study was to develop theoretical and practical provisions for and test benefits of a new memory and attention training model to complement the elective physical education and sports toolkit at universities.

Methods and structure of the study. We believe that the memory and attention training models applicable at universities need to be supported by the relevant memory and attention test methods and tools customizable for the student groups ranked by the entrance memory and attention capacities as soon as the students come to the academic physical education and sports classes. The group memory and attention training service should offer the group-skills-specific warm-ups, workouts and special practices, with the academic theoretical and practical physical education and sport service being customized to the actual memory and attention training progress test data.

Of special benefits for the memory and attention training purposes are known to be aerobic physical training tools with a special priority to the natural individual resources and hygienic factors [6]. Based on our prior studies, we designed a new memory and attention training model for university students applicable in the elective academic physical education and sport service. The new memory and attention training model is dominated by special physical training tools to facilitate progress in the attention control and memorizing skills, including a range of problem-solving, hierarchical and ordering practices to improve attention, plus traditional fitness exercises with the verbal and practical instructor’s assistance in difficult traditional fitness exercises and active developmental games.

The students’ progress in the elective memory and attention training model piloting experiment was tested by the Bourdon's proofreading test, A.R. Luria test and Schulte tables on the pre- and post-experimental basis to rate the memorizing and attention control skills. We sampled for the experiment university students (n=107) and split them up into Experimental and Reference Groups (EG, RG) of 53 and 54 people, respectively. The pre-experimental tests found the groups virtually equal in the attention control and memorizing skills. The EG was trained as required by the new memory and attention training model and the RG was trained by the traditional physical education and sport service in September-December 2019, with the both group trainings run twice a week to total 72 academic hours.

Results and discussion. The pre-experimental tests found no significant intergroup attention control and memorizing differences in the EG and RG. The post-experimental tests found the EG making progress of 3.58s and 13.40s in the Bourdon and Schulte tests versus the RG progresses of 0.91s and 6.17s, respectively. The memorizing skills rating Luria test found 14.09% the EG making progress to excellent points – versus 1.86% in the RG. The EG progress was also found to cut down the percentages of good and acceptable test points: see the Table.

Table 1. Memory and attention training progress test data of the EG and RG

Group

Tests

Bourdon, с

Luria test,  %

Schulte table, s

excellent

good

acceptable

Pre-experimental tests

EG, n=53

9,82±2,13

53,83

26,42

20,75

60,05±17.97

RG, n=54

9,87±2,16

55,55

27,78

16,67

59,76±16,48

р

> 0,01

 

 

 

> 0,01

Post-experimental tests

EG, n=53

6,24±0,51

67,92

18,87

13,21

46,65±10,95

RG, n=54

8,96±1,45

57,41

20,37

22,22

53,59±13,89

р

˂ 0,01

 

 

 

˂ 0,01

Note: Bourdon and Schulte tests were free of time limitations

It should be underlined that most beneficial for the attention control and memorizing skills training were the moderate-intensity physical, mental/ emotional workouts, whilst the high- and low-intensity ones were tested the least and moderately effective, respectively. The EG trainings, therefore, were dominated by the moderate-intensity physical training tools proved most beneficial for the attention control and data processing and memorizing ability improvement purposes. A few minor regresses in the test data may be explained by the individual difficulties in the physical training process due to the inevitable falls in the actual physical fitness, moods, emotions and other factors.

Conclusion. Modern academic learning stressors due to heavy information flows, emotional fatigues and learning pressures associated with unhealthy physical inactivity are known to develop absent-mindedness and undermine the attention control and memorizing resources. Our analysis of the theoretical and practical study reports on the subject found the theoretical and practical provisions for the memory and attention training service in the elective physical education and sports curricula at universities being still underdeveloped and, hence, deserving special research.

Most beneficial for the memory and attention training purposes are known to be aerobic practices including running, walking, swimming, skiing, etc., conditional on the training time and intensity being well customized to the daily regimens, semester periods, etc., with a special priority to the natural individual resources and hygienic factors. The new memory and attention training model of our design prioritizes special physical training practices to facilitate progress in the attention control and memorizing skills by problem-solving, hierarchy-building and ordering practices, plus traditional fitness exercises with the verbal and practical instructor’s assistance in difficult traditional fitness exercises and active developmental games. The new memory and attention training elective physical education and sports model for universities was tested beneficial.

The new memory and attention training model implementation algorithm prioritized the following: attention control and memorizing skills tests; sample grouping by gender and primary attention control and memorizing skills subgroups for customized services; attention control and memorizing progress tests in the trainings; and special warm-up, workout and special physical training practices to facilitate individual progress. The memory and attention training service is recommended being prudently customized on the individual attention control and memorizing progress sensitive basis, using modern visual and auditory memory and attention control tests.

Appreciations

The study was sponsored by a special funding under the ‘Special competences building in university students by target elective physical education and sports service’ Project financed by the 2020 intra-university grant from Yakovlev Chuvash State Pedagogical University.

References

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