Using Student Choice for Engaged Learning in Sport, Tourism, Recreation, and Live Entertainment Education




student choice, learning autonomy, engaged learning, higher education, college teaching, sport management education, Curricular Innovation for Sport Management


Fostering engaged learning in higher education contributes to students’ lifelong learning. Additionally, engaged learning prepares graduates to transfer their learning to the workplace, which is particularly important in pre-professional sport, tourism, recreation, and live entertainment (STRLE) programs. Engaged learning entails students actively and intentionally participating in their own learning, and learning autonomy is fundamental to their ownership of the learning enterprise. Student choice can be implemented as an engaged learning pedagogy by supporting student autonomy. Offering students choices in the classroom can increase engagement, enjoyment, and motivation; build competence and higher order thinking skills; and improve student success. Faculty engaged in this praxis in a sport management program at a small, private college. To further enhance student success, STRLE faculty can implement student choice following the recommended best practices. Offering choices that align with student interests and values, and provide connection and competence, best support autonomy. Faculty should also demonstrate warmth, flexibility, and consistency to increase the effectiveness of providing student choices. This commentary explores the literature on student choice as an engaged learning practice, illustrates a practice example, and makes recommendations for effectively applying student choice in the STRLE classroom.

Author Biographies

Anne DeMartini, Kennesaw State University

Anne L. DeMartini, JD, is an assistant professor in the Department of Exercise Science and Sport Management at Kennesaw State University. Her research interests include sport management education and the legal aspects of sport, particularly anti-discrimination law, legal consciousness, and as applied to CrossFit.

Jillian M. Villemaire, Flagler College

Jillian M. Villemaire, EdD, is an associate professor in the Department of Business Administration at Flagler College. Her research interests include marketing communications and social media in the sports industry.


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