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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At Ministry of Football we try to evaluate each new coach once a term. In these coach evaluations one of the key criteria that we assess is Active Learning Time:

Active Learning Time is the amount of time in a lesson that children have the opportunity to move and learn by doing.

It includes any and all opportunities that each child has to play and move. It doesn't include: Time sitting or standing in a queue; Time listening to a coach; Time watching someone else demonstrate something; Time "out" of a game; Time having a drink or going to the toilet; Time wasted because of a late start or early finish to the session.

Active Learning Time is an important measure of the amount of 'learning by doing' that can take place for the learners. It is only a measure of quantity and says nothing about the quality of the learning. The coach evaluations at MoF also look at the quality and relevance of the activity and coach interventions in the session, and provide an overall summary of quantity and quality of learning.

Below is a table of Active Learning Time in the classes we have evaluated since 2011. [Our sessions begin with a group warm-up with a ball each usually for 5-10 minutes. This allows children to get settled, coaches to prepare areas and equipment, and managers to arrange groups for the lesson. This preparation time is not counted as part the coach evaluation]. 

April 2011
5-6 years, mixed ability 36m / 54m 66%
April 2011
6-8 years, mixed/low ability
40m / 55m 73%
Dec 2011 7-8 years, high ability 46m / 52m 89%
May 2012 6-7 years, mixed/low ability
40.5m / 46m
May 2012 6-7 years, high ability
43m / 56m
Oct 2012
6-7 years, mixed/low ability
39.5m / 54m
Oct 2012
7-9 years intermediate ability
39m / 50m 78%
May 2013
7-9 years, intermediate ability
34m / 51m
Oct 2013 7-8 years, mixed/low ability
35m / 52m
Nov 2013 9-11 years, mixed/low ability
36m / 54m
Feb 2014
7-9 years, mixed/low ability
40m / 52m
Feb 2014
9-11 years, intemediate ability
39m / 54m
June 2014 7-9 years, mixed ability
35.5m / 53m
June 2014
7-8 years, high ability
35m / 53m
June 2014
7-8 years, high ability
40m / 51m
Nov 2014 6-8 years, intermediate ability 43m / 53m 81%
May 2015 9-11 years, mixed ability 39m / 53m 74%
Nov 2015 7-8 years, high ability 37.5m / 52m 72%
Nov 2015 9-11 years, high/medium ability 43m / 52m 83%
Dec 2015 7-8 years, high ability
34m / 51m 67%
Dec 2015 8-10 years, high ability
41m / 52m 79%


Average Active Learning Time in our evaluated sessions is 74%. [This % will be substantially higher for the entire hour of the session as we would add on the 5-10 minutes at the beginning of the lesson where each child is constantly active and moving with a ball].