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An Observational Study Investigating Verbal Communication Differences in Online vs. In-person Group Exercise Training
SessionT2 - Design of Training
DescriptionOnline, home-based exercise programs are increasingly used to initiate or sustain physical activity. While online platforms provide accessible forms of exercise, their shortcomings limit participants’ performance and long-term engagement. This study systematically quantified instructors’ verbal communication in online versus in-person group yoga sessions to investigate potential differences in verbal interactions with participants. Videos of 20 guided yoga sessions (10 online and 10 in-person) were analyzed for the duration of verbal communication events in four categories: guidance, group feedback, individual feedback, and social interaction. The duration of individual feedback was significantly shorter in online versus in-person instruction, t(8)=-2.45,p=0.039, equivalent to an average shortening of 91.4%. No significant difference was observed for other verbal communication events. The lack of individual feedback during online sessions identified in the study may limit participants’ motivation, performance improvement, and long-term engagement. This paper presents potential design considerations for improving interaction and communication in online exercise platforms.