What keeps FLAME lit? Comparing two modes of implementation of a physical education-based intervention to improve motor competence among Irish adolescents

Jiani Ma, Wesley O’Brien, Diarmuid Lester, Emma L. J. Eyre, Natalie Lander, Harriet Koorts, Lisa M. Barnett, Michael Duncan

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Background: Adequate levels of motor competence (MC) have been associated with multiple health outcomes. Despite the preponderance of effective MC interventions, globally, levels of MC in children and adolescents are low. There is a gap in understanding what leads to effective implementation of MC interventions into routine practice, to benefit the wider population. 

Purpose: This study aims to compare implementation outcomes of two versions of Project FLAME: one group of teachers implementing Project FLAME as per the original efficacy trial (‘Original FLAME’), a second group of teachers implementing Project FLAME incorporating three additional implementation strategies (‘Modified FLAME’). 

Methods: A mixed method, two-group pre-and-post design, lasting six weeks during the period of September to November 2021. Three implementation evaluation outcomes were assessed: (i) PE teacher’s self-efficacy in delivering Project FLAME; (ii) Fidelity and adaptation to the project protocol; and (iii) Teachers’ and students’ responsiveness to the project. Data were collected at student and teacher levels using online survey and interviews. Nine PE teachers and their classes from eight schools consented to participate. Descriptives were reported for quantitative online survey data, and qualitative data were analysed thematically. 

Results: The final analytical sample included data from 9 teachers and 127 students pre- and post-study. Irrespective of implementation group, teachers with low levels of self-efficacy at the baseline improved after the six-week intervention. Teachers’ fidelity to the use of pedagogical external cues and error identification were high in both groups, with more adaptations made in the Modified FLAME group. Students’ satisfaction towards the intervention was high in both groups, with the use of pedagogical external cues reported as highly preferable. 

Conclusion: Findings provide evidence on the ‘non-negotiable’ features of Project FLAME that have the potential to be implemented for a longer-term in Physical Education settings (e.g. external teaching cues). The documented implementation of Project FLAME provide knowledge on what adaptations may be needed to translate an effective MC intervention into real-world practice. The study reaffirms that documenting the implementation (especially fidelity and adaptation) of MC interventions is beneficial.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)(In-Press)
Number of pages17
JournalPhysical Education and Sport Pedagogy
Early online date21 Nov 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 21 Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/), which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, and is not altered, transformed, or built upon in any way. The terms on which this article has been published allow the posting of the Accepted Manuscript in a repository by the author(s) or with their consent.


JM was supported by a Cotutelle Doctoral Studentship of Coventry University and Deakin University


  • Motor skills
  • fundamental movement skills
  • implementation science
  • children
  • adolescents
  • translation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Physical Therapy, Sports Therapy and Rehabilitation
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine


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