As the world continues to adapt to the changes brought by the COVID-19 pandemic, the shift to online and virtual learning continues. For aspiring fitness professionals, from personal trainers and yoga instructors to those pursuing Continued Professional Development (CPD) in fitness, this change is significant. A 2023 study delves into how ergonomic factors can influence learning motivation and academic performance when studying online, providing crucial insights.

Research by Gumasing et al. published by Sustainability (2023), involving 316 students, employed a unique ergonomic appraisal framework, focusing on the physical, cognitive, and macro-ergonomic factors of learning environments used when studying online/virtually. The methodology included a comprehensive questionnaire and an analysis through partial least square structural equation modelling (PLS-SEM).

Key Findings

  • Elements like workstation design, Learning Management Systems (LMS) usage, technology access, teaching delivery methods, and tactile and visual learning styles significantly influence students’ learning motivation.
  • Learning motivation directly impacts academic performance, essential for future professionals’ competency.
  • The study’s model explains 44% of the variation in students’ academic performance and 68.8% of their learning motivation.

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For us here at TRAINFITNESS and you, our students, these outcomes underscore the need for conducive learning environments, including digitally. Considerations include:

  1. Optimised Workstations: Ensure you set up the physical space in which you study to minimise discomfort, ensuring sufficient ventilation and airflow, minimal noise and sufficient lighting.
  2. Effective Use of LMS and Technology: Just as fitness tracking apps and devices enhance physical training, suitable educational technologies can streamline learning processes, making resources accessible and progress tracked effectively. The cAmpus Student Desktops were designed by a User Experience Designer who holds a MSc in User Experience Design with Special Honours. Special Honours is an acknowledgement of achievement over 20% above a Distinction. A Distinction is ordinarily the top grade.

    Our approach to planning and design followed BS EN ISO 9241-210:2010 Ergonomics of Human-system Interaction, Part 210: Human-centred Design for Interactive Systems. The design incorporated the following:

    • Step 1 – Comprehensive user testing exercise. Expert led interviews, self-led interviews, heat mapping, screen recording, questionnaires and expert reviews. Current learners, past learners, staff and the general population were used for this.
    • Step 2 – General eLearning research into multimedia learning theory, working memory, cognitive loading and instructional learning theory.
    • Step 3 – Define a usability specification (including accessibility), analyse current performance, set goals and create and action plan.
    • Step 4 – Organise and map course structures, architectures and object relationships.
    • Step 5 – User Stories and User Journey workshop with key departments.
    • Step 6 – Persona creation and specific task scenarios of use cases.
    • Step 7 – Full task model of proposed application.
    • Step 8 – Define screen flows and information objects associated with each screen.
    • Step 9 – Iterative wire framing with User Reviews.
    • Step 10 – Desktop UI and Mobile UI using graceful degradation approach (based on user device preference).
    • Step 11 – Prototype, Test, Review, Feedback, Improve, Iterate
    • Step 12 – Usability analysis
  3. Adapted Teaching Delivery: Our tutors utilise dynamic and interactive teaching methods, keeping energy high and accommodating various learning styles.
  4. Temperature and Learning Environment Control: While this may seem exclusive to physical classes like yoga or Pilates, maintaining a comfortable environment is crucial for keeping yourself engaged, when attending Live-Virtual clinics from home over Zoom.

Theoretically, this research pioneers linking ergonomic aspects with learning motivation in online scenarios, expanding potential strategies for enhancing e-learning experiences.

For those adapting to online learning, the message is clear: your ergonomic setup within which you study is as vital as physical one’s. As we acknowledge the factors that drive learning motivation, we continue to improve the learner’s virtual experience creating an engaging online education experience, ensuring that professional standards remain high.


  1. Gumasing, M.J.J.; Castro, F.M.F. Determining Ergonomic Appraisal Factors Affecting the Learning Motivation and Academic Performance of Students during Online Classes. Sustainability 2023, 15, 1970. Click here to review the full research article

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