Research - Home

Ministry of Football is keen to assess impact of its programme, and add to the wider debate on children's learning. These Research pages show how we have tried to measure learning on our programme.

Active Learning Time - measured by parents

 Active Learning Time in coach evaluations

Measuring Learning in Small-Sided Games


Measurement sheet for Active Learning Time

(for use in football sessions, sports programmes, PE lessons etc)


Mark Carter

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Muswell Hill's Number 1 Football Development Programme



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On average 82% of a Ministry of Football session contains Active Learning time. This is compared to just 20% of the average school PE lesson

Our first research project took place in March 2011. This research studied the number of minutes in a MoF session that children are Actively Learning. This is in response to a recent study by Movement Dynamics, which found that children are only active for 8 minutes of 40 minute school PE lessons.

Our experiment: We used parents and spectators to help us with this research. 15% of parents used a stopwatch to record the amount of a one-hour lesson that their child was engaged in Active Learning. We defined Active Learning as any activity that gave the opportunity for movement, learning and play. Therefore the stopwatch was stopped when the child had a drink break or was listening to the teacher give instructions. This research was carried out across the following four age groups: 4-5 years, 6-8 years and 9-12 years.

Active Learning Time is important as it is a measure of the amount of 'learning by doing' that is happening in a session. At MoF we believe that children will learn to play football by playing football. Certainly there may be times when a coaches intervention can speed up the learning process or help add quality to the learning that is taking place - but the main learning that happens is dependent on movement taking place.

We found that: On average 82% of our session time gives children the opportunity for Active Learning. This varied from 75% to 91%, mainly depending on the coach and the age-group. The main reasons that parents gave for non-Active Learning time was when children stopped playing to listen to the teacher give instructions or ask questions.

We learnt that: We run intense sessions that are full of play. We identified that we need to be consistent with the number of drink breaks we give to each group, and that we can maximise Active Learning time if we give children something to do when they return from a drink break - such as juggling a ball or passing against the wall (this allows the children who only need a very quick drink to continue playing and learning).