265253 Serious Games About Climate Change: An evaluation on an Online Goal Based Scenario

Monday, October 29, 2012

Thomas Chandler, PhD , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Karen L. Levin, RN, MPH, MCHES , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, New York, NY
Shwetha Bhaskar, MA , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY
Thomas Aguilar, MS , National Center for Disaster Preparedness, Columbia University, Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY
All public health education involves some sort of problem solving; from mathematical calculations (What does this equal?), to scientific experiments (How does this happen?) to analyzing an input (What does this mean?) It is the primary aim of most public health educators to show learners how to answer questions and solve problems. Yet, when educators begin providing facts and procedures to learners without providing a chance for them to develop their own investigations, learners are likely to memorize the material without fully understanding it. Interactive computer technologies can often provide new ways to improve problem solving capabilities through the introduction of stories or case study simulations in which the learner is an active participant. Consequently, learners can practice at their own pace, visualize information in new ways, access the content asynchronously, while also engaging in simulated tasks. Such course designs are often called goal based scenarios.

This study examines data collected from an online goal based scenario distributed to more than 2,000 U.S. public health workers. The online course, developed at Columbia University's Regional Learning Center, includes a pre-test, a one hour fictional interactive simulation dealing with climate change and new cases of Dengue Fever in the U.S. Southeast, and a post test. An evaluation of the pre / post test assessment indicates that there has been a significant increase in the participants' understanding of climate change and its inter-relationship with Dengue Fever. Findings also indicate that this interactive goal based scenario has been an effective pedagogical tool for generating new understandings about climate change. The authors also assert that goal based scenarios can be highly effective forms of learning for the public health workforce, particularly when incorporated into face-to-face trainings.

Learning Areas:
Communication and informatics
Environmental health sciences
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Explain how goal based scenarios can generate new realizations regarding the relationship between public health and climate change. Describe the relationship between climate change and the spread of disease. Describe the relationship between climate change and global mass migration. Identify new studies which cite the effectiveness of goal based scenarios in public health

Keywords: Information Technology, Distance Learning

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am an Associate Research Scientist at the Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University. I hold a PhD in education and have more than 10 years experience in public health and online course development. I have published several studies relating to these issues.
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.