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A mixed-methods evaluation using low-income adult Georgians’ experience with a smartphone-based eLearning nutrition education programme

  • Sarah Stotz (a1), Jung Sun Lee (a1) and Jori Hall (a2)

Abstract

Objective

To understand low-income adults’ expectations and experiences using an innovative smartphone and theory-based eLearning nutrition education programme, entitled Food eTalk.

Design

Longitudinal mixed-methods single case study including a series of focus group and individual interviews, demographic and Internet habits surveys, and user-tracking data. Interviews were transcribed verbatim, analysed using the constant comparative method and digitalized using Atlas.ti. Descriptive statistics were analysed for demographics and user-tracking data.

Setting

Community-based locations including libraries, public housing complexes, schools, safety-net clinics and food pantries.

Subjects

Low-income Georgian adults aged ≥18 years (n 64), USA.

Results

Participants found Food eTalk easy to navigate and better designed than expected. Primary themes were twofold: (i) motivation to engage in eLearning may be a formidable barrier to Food eTalk’s success but improved programme content, format and external incentives could mitigate this barrier; and (ii) applying knowledge to change nutrition-related behaviour is challenging. To encourage engagement in eLearning nutrition education, programme format should highlight interactive games, videos, be short in length, and feature content that is relevant and important from the perspective of the priority audience. Examples of these topics include quick and easy recipes, chronic disease-specific diet information and tips to feed ‘picky’ children. Additionally, external incentives may help mitigate barriers to healthful eating behaviour and increase engagement in the programme.

Conclusions

The findings suggest eLearning nutrition education programmes are best designed to match low-income adults’ typical smartphone habits, include content considered particularly relevant by the intended audience and highlight solutions to barriers to healthful eating.

Copyright

Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Email sastotz@uga.edu

References

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