Wii Fit: A type of distance education?

By definition, distance education can be considered as “any formal approach to learning in which a majority of the instruction occurs while educator and learner are at a distance from one another” (Verduin and Clark, 1991: p. 8). Therefore, as an example Wii Fit can be seen as a form of distance education.

Wii Fit is a formal approach to learning. It presents a “tailor-made” guide towards achieving fitness and it introduces users to a more holistic view of fitness and healthy living. Most (if not all) of the instruction occurs while the educator and the learner are at a distance from one another. In fact, users around the world rarely get to meet the fitness experts who provided their contribution to design the Wii Fit training programmes.

If Wii Fit is an example of distance education, then the efforts of Nintendo to overcome the disadvantages that are usually associated with distance education are commendable. People around the world are encouraged to challenge other users worldwide, thus reducing the feel-alone factor. Wii Fit has even hit some classroom environments, creating a healthy competition between peers and motivating some students to get fit. Some universities are giving credits to students who exercise using Wii Fit on a regular basis!

Related articles: Students get in shape and get credit for Wii class

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13 thoughts on “Wii Fit: A type of distance education?

  1. >I have just read submitted article “Students at the University of Houston have a new class this fall, PEB 4197 — the Wii Performance class”. I have a mixed filling about another e-technology implementation in physical education. Naturally, any physical activities should be done on fresh air, in an environment that will enhance socializing between students. Unfortunately, nowadays lifestyle is sedentary one and students spend too much time in front of PC or TV, including us. And we are paying too hefty price on account of our health and quality of life. Just see a number of obese children and students. If there is no other way to get students more physically active, then Wii might help. If this is the only way, yes we should implement this technology. After all, it can help students to develop a habit of regular exercising.

  2. >Baran is correct when saying that today's lifestyle is too dependent on technology. Whether it is for recreational purposes or for work too many people are opting to sit in front of the computer or television instead of getting up and doing some proper exercise. Having said this however, I must assert that even though the Maltese people have little excuse for not exercising outside, especially in the summer months with the lovely weather and enticing beaches, foreigners are less lucky. Looking at England they have horrible weather all year round, giving them less chance to enjoy the outdoors. Hence games such as Wii fit are definitely helping people get into shape within the comfort of their own homes, while at the same time enjoying themselves. As with Rachel's assertion that Wii fit is a form of e-learning I cannot help but agree with her! Taking a look at my last Christmas where I got together with my family on my mother's side (as is our tradition on Christmas day and NY day) we spent a couple of hours playing games on the Wii fit. Naturally at the time it did not occur to us that we were playing and learning at the same time, for our sole purpose was to enjoy some quality time together. However, looking back on it I can confirm Rachel’s hypothesis that indeed Wii fit is a form of e-learning. I myself can now say that I have learnt better the rules of bowling, and learnt some game rules for golf! Hence this makes Wii fit not only an e-learning device but an effective tool for creative learning, a tool which should be introduced in our classes- not as a substitute for Physical education (P.E) but as a guide to help teachers teach the rules for certain games before the children actually start practicing the sports!

  3. >I have mixed feelings about what Rachel wrote. I was surprised to find out that some academic institutions give credits to students who use regularly the Wii Fit Training sessions. Is it ethical to promote a commercial product to earn a credit? I'm sure the universities that offer these credits have several sports facilities as is common in the US universities. So they could have easily promoted the use of these facilities rather than the Wii!!As Baran said we should encourage our students to play sports with others in the open air not alone at home. Besides keeping you fit sports can help in socializing with others and working in teams. In Malta, more effort needs to be done in this aspect. Unfortunately, at MCAST sports is not given that importance. One of the problems is the lack of the participation from the students. During this year's sports day organized by the sports department the campus was almost deserted except for the few students playing volleyball, basketball, football, chess and a few other sports.The government should spend more on sports facilities at educational institutions and then encourage the use of these facilities. The obesity rate is Malta is quite high and much more needs to be done to address this problem.I'm off to the beach. I've spent enough time in front of the PC 🙂

  4. >When one receives a new "toy", there is usually great enthusiasm to use it often over the first couple of days and months. Experience has taught me, however, that this enthusiasm tends to decrease exponentially as the months roll into years. Until the next technological gadget hits the market, that is! I do not want to come across as a pessimist. Leanne does have a valid point about climatic conditions in the Northern countries. However, Baran 's and Kenny 's contributions mince no words about the plans that local authorities need to adopt in order to get our youngsters to socialise more through sports. In the public school where our sons were enrolled, for example, physical education classes were curtailed to only one hour weekly from age thirteen and onwards because more emphasis needed to be placed on the academic aspect. All suggestions to review the situation at School Council level have, so far, fallen on deaf ears….

  5. >I tend to disagree with Rachel's post regarding the Wii Fit as distance learning. As you quoted correctly distance learning is "any formal approach to learning in which a majority of the instruction occurs while educator and learner are at a distance from one another".So lectures at UOM halls such as the Science Lecture Theatre or the Main Hall are considered as Distance Learning? If I'm not mistaken, whenever I used to sit at the back row I used to be about 5 – 10 metres away from the lecturer. Can such an environment be "distance learning"?On the other hand, I fully agree that in our lectures, especially with our students, we should try to engage them as much as possible using different means. But on the other hand, like Leanne said, we are relying too much on technology, and maybe we are missing the simple things in life, that used to make us happy in the past. Such means should be blended

  6. >What Sanji is saying is very true… Not everything that is done at a distance can be considered as e-learning. In the case of Wii Fit, whilst possibly engaging students into carrying out physical sports activities, there is absolutely no feedback system which can be controlled by a remote administrator. Everything is completely pre-programmed, limiting interaction with any possible instructor to zero!Good that people are running to the beach with this great weather we're having…Maybe some of you could create an educational video and upload it on you-tube so that we teach foreigners how we enjoy Maltese summers!

  7. >As a person that practices sports and athletic training I feel somewhat confused about the use of Wii Fit as a form of personal training. Personally I prefer training with my team mates and going to the gym. However, I also feel that if the new generation prefers to dedicate their free time to e-technology activities, Wii fit could be a good option. At least like this users can stimulate their interest in physical activity and enjoy moving around rather than just sitting down and pressing a button like in other play station games. I still believe that the educational system has to balance such technology by promoting other physical activity that includes fresh air and also socialization. I feel that wiifit can never be a substitute for other team sports which help both children and adults to develop their ability to work in a team and also to develop their interpersonal skills.

  8. >I agree with Delicia who said that Wii Fit cannot be a substitute for real outdoor and indoor sports. However, I do believe that Wii could be used for therapies (sports injuries etc.). We all know how hard it is to be self-disciplined to a training routine. Including software games in therapies will induce motivation. Back to distance learning – being a massage therapist myself, I have seen a number of people who have barely practiced any sport. Sometimes I need to show my clients a number of exercises to improve their posture. However, most of them forget the proper movements and I'm sure that software like Wii fit may be a great aid both for distance learning and motivation.

  9. >Recalling one of my past jobs, the director decided to invest in a wii fit at the place of work just for the idea of giving time for employees to relax and at the same time regain energy to work. I do agree with John Muscat comments because myself I don't really see wii-fit as a form of e-learning. There's no form of assessment or evaluation going on. It is something that in the end we are playing for fun. This is just the same as playing 'World of War craft'. It is a form of helping someone to interact with another character on the other side, or else interact with family and friends. It is true what Leanne said that through Wii we can actually learn games rules however I still don't think it is a form of e-learning because there is no point of contact.If it is beneficial for the young students I would include it in class because I believe that through sports students can learn more. If anything they will understand how to play and interact with their friends.

  10. >I am personally not too keen on the use of the Wii, and that's coming from someone who has a Wii at home with the sports application.First of all, it's not always possible to maintain a regular and lively interest that should be the part of any fitness routine. Another factor worth mentioning is that within a gym setting, our gym buddies make a difference to our training pattern. Find yourself a serious pair of fitness friends and you'll be egging each other on to better health 🙂

  11. >I am not really a Wii passionate, however I do appreciate Wii's initial concept, a devvice designed to bring people/families/friends together again. As I can recall personally technology has made its imprint on society to become more individual hence to be more alienated. The concept of Wii is to manage to bring back interactivity within social groups. I remember at a young age, Rai Uno's Friday night Cinema Famiglia, or subbuteo etc.. in which such activity enforced the value of group work. Today media is number one in entertainment and it is becoming mostly on-demand. Wii defies that notion and it aims to re-establish the relationship amongst social groups.Thumbs up for the Wii

  12. >I agree with Rachel and do think that Wii fit is a form of e-learning since it is a virtual instructor that helps people to do training. The latest software of Wii fit, called ‘Wii fit plus’ has personalised exercises, one can keep record of weight, calories burnt and it shows the progress that one is doing. Also Wii can be used by more than one user. There are 4 ports and thus one can play and compare progress with other people.

  13. >Online education seems to be expanding by the day. New programs and courses are becoming more available and large groups of students keep on enrolling.Here we are talking about something completely innovative, that is, a way of encouraging and promoting health through a video game. The Wii Fit is a great way to introduce physical activity to students who might not be interested in joining a team sport or other school related activity. It has also been proved that students can be easily controlled whilst playing such a game. When students are interested in something, they will behave to keep doing it. A good teacher will make her students aware that this activity will be immediately stopped should behavioural problems arise. For those who don’t want to try, their interest is still peaked and they stay engage themselves one way or another. Their attention is focused on who is playing the game and how they are doing.

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