A skill acquisition perspective on the impact of exergaming technology on foundational movement skill development in children 3–12 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis

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Oppici, Luca, Stell, Frederike Marie, Utesch, Till, Woods, Carl ORCID: 0000-0002-7129-8938, Foweather, Lawrence and Rudd, James ORCID: 0000-0003-1546-576X (2022) A skill acquisition perspective on the impact of exergaming technology on foundational movement skill development in children 3–12 years: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Sports Medicine - Open, 8 (148). ISSN 2199-1170


Background Sedentary, digital screen time in children represents a major concern due to its detrimental effect on children’s development. Nowadays, however, advances in technology allow children to actively interact with a digital screen using their whole body (e.g., exergaming), providing potential for movement learning. Exergaming technology may prove valuable in supporting children’s development of foundational movement skills (FMS). Objective To examine the impact of exergaming technology on the development of FMS in children 3–12 years through a skill acquisition lens. Methods Systematic review and meta-analysis were conducted following the PRISMA guidelines. Web of Science, PubMed, PsycINFO and SPORTDiscus databases were searched between 2007 and 2022. Studies were eligible if they conducted an exergaming intervention to improve FMS in typically developing children aged three to twelve with a control group, using a baseline and post-intervention assessment design. FMS outcomes were pooled with a random effects model. Results Nine trials (4 RCTs, 2 cluster RCTs and 3 non-randomized trials) of varying methodological quality (2 had low, 6 had some concerns, and 1 had a high risk of bias) were included, with a total of 783 participants. FMS outcome measures across studies comprised object control skills, locomotor skills, coordination, agility, balance and balance-related skills. The meta-analysis included showed a small positive effect in favor of the exergaming intervention (r = 0.24 [95% confidence interval: 0.11–0.36]). Conclusion Our results indicate that screen-based technology that requires an active engagement of the child can promote the development of FMS. Considering that FMS are the foundation of a child’s physical, mental, health and academic development, this finding could lead to a reshaping of the perception of digital screen-based technology and the role this should play in children’s lives. We speculate that the observed benefits most likely depend upon the quality of information–movement coupling specificity and the motor learning strategies built into the exergame and/or the intervention design. We do not believe this is dependent on the type of FMS being performed or the amount of practice. We recommend therefore that future research should examine how practitioners (school teachers, coaches and parents) can facilitate the interaction between a child and exergaming technology.

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Item type Article
URI https://vuir.vu.edu.au/id/eprint/44698
DOI 10.1186/s40798-022-00534-8
Official URL https://sportsmedicine-open.springeropen.com/artic...
Subjects Current > FOR (2020) Classification > 4207 Sports science and exercise
Current > Division/Research > Institute for Health and Sport
Keywords skill acquisition, sedentary behaviour, digital technology use, motor skills, movement skills
Citations in Scopus 0 - View on Scopus
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