203450 Impact of a participatory learning approach within a health and wellness course for college freshmen

Monday, November 9, 2009

Meagan Shipley, MS(c), BS , School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Carol Kennedy-Armbruster, MS , Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Fernando Ona, PhD, MPH , Department of Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
David K. Lohrmann, PhD , Applied Health Science, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Marge Schrag , Residential Programs and Services, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
Whitney E. Hornsby , Department of Kinesiology, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN
University-level wellness courses are commonly taught to promote healthy lifestyle behaviors. However, wellness course evaluations are underrepresented in the literature. A utilization-focused evaluation approach was implemented to assess the impact of a fitness and wellness course at a large Midwestern university. Learning objective feedback from college freshmen (n=291) enrolled in a Foundations of Fitness and Wellness course was analyzed. Representative Faculty Advisory Board members met to determine course topics and student learning objectives. Course content and methods of delivery were aligned with the learning objectives to improve evaluabililty. Topics included physical activity, nutrition, stress management, mental health, sexual health, and alcohol awareness. Learning objectives included integrating physical activity into daily living, planning and maintaining a personal fitness program, assessing personal health behaviors (e.g. fitness, alcohol, nutrition, stress), minimizing unnecessary risks (e.g. binge drinking, eating disorders, unprotected sex), and managing the effects of stress. Journals with both survey questions and open-ended response fields were directly correlated to the learning objectives. Learning objective analysis revealed that over 85% of the students agreed that: (1) the life expectancy lesson helped connect disease with quality of life; (2) the nutrition lesson assisted the students in determining healthier nutrition options; (3) the alcohol awareness lesson minimized unnecessary risks associated with binge drinking; (4) the stress lesson helped manage and reduce the negative effects of stress; and (5) the sexual health lesson reinforced safer sex practices. Student feedback revealed that utilizing experts and outside resources enhanced participatory learning and produced positive health and wellness outcomes.

Learning Objectives:
1) Discuss the importance of gathering content feedback as a resource to gain student input, 2) Analyze the impact of wellness courses on the health and wellness behaviors of college freshmen, 3) Explain the importance of creating learning objectives prior to the development of course curriculum in order to evaluate learning outcomes.

Keywords: College Students, Wellness

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have conducted this research in collaboration with Indiana University Residential and Programming Services working with faculty at the School of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. This study is part of my graduate work in Kinesiology and Public Health. I have a degree in applied health science and have experience in public health research.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.