At the end of January, Erin and I hosted a webinar about the the EatFresh.org Mini Course, which is a free online eLearning course that covers SNAP-Ed messages. (And great news – it's listed in the Integrated Curriculum List released by the California State Implementing Agencies!)
If you didn't get a chance to join us, you can watch the full webinar on our YouTube channel now. For those of you who don't have 40 minutes to spare, I'll give you the Cliffs Notes version:
The Mini Course leverages the content of EatFresh.org and guides the user through a series of topics that takes about 35 minutes to complete. It was developed for low computer literacy users in English and Spanish using a narrative instructional strategy with characters that we believed to be realistic and approachable for viewers. We see these characters as "Champion Moms and Dads" of the CalFresh-eligible population who are modeling healthy behaviors and attitudes while also voicing common barriers and difficulties.
Mini Course 1 includes a pre-course and post-course questionnaire, which enables us to build an evidence base for knowledge, attitude, and intentions to make behavior changes. In our pilot that included 130 low-income individuals, we saw statistically significant knowledge changes (p=0.05) in just one hour! These indicators were knowing how to calculate teaspoons of sugar from the number of grams shown on a nutrition label, correctly choosing the healthiest food based on the nutrition label among three options, and knowing the amount of sodium in carrots. We also saw statistically significant attitude and intent changes (p=0.05) related to eating whole wheat tortillas instead of refined white tortillas, and choosing reduced or fat-free milk instead of whole milk.
The adults in our pilot really enjoyed the content of the Mini Course and felt that they learned a lot. Leah’s Pantry runs a community cooking program in public housing in San Francisco, and we invited all the community cooks to take the class as part of their professional development. The next week one of them arrived saying he had started reading labels at the grocery store for the first time and had stopped drinking soda!
The Mini Course can benefit your program in many ways, including:
- Enhancing your interventions by increasing the number of ways your clients can access nutrition education and reinforcing lessons taught in-person.
- Supporting PSE and Capacity Building & Collaboration work, like offering the EatFresh.org Mini Course as an option for child care providers to fulfill a nutrition education requirement.
- Increasing reach for your direct education events – we have been working with Evan Talmage at CDPH to ensure we can enter this data into the ATF as a direct intervention.
- Reducing participant burden by adapting to your client's schedule and limitations, like lack of transportation. The Mini Course can be taken at anytime of day and at any speed.
- Providing message consistency and high curriculum fidelity by communicating the exact same information to each participant.
- Providing training for your nutrition educators as a refresher on SNAP-Ed messages. If you would like to give access to your educators to all three courses without the pre/post questionnaires, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Offering an incentive. At a recent partner training, we offered aprons to everyone who brought in their certificate of completion.
Need ideas for integrating the EatFresh.org Mini Course into your program? Try this:
- During classes or workshops, refer your clients to the EatFresh.org homepage and tell them to click on the Kenny Kale button in the center of the screen that reads "Take the free EatFresh.org Mini Course".
- If you have a computer lab, hold a nutrition class there and guide participants through the course. We recommend having headphones handy for everyone!
- Ask your staff and partners to take the Mini Course to boost their nutrition knowledge. This can be used as a precursor to an upcoming training so participants can better absorb information at the training.
- Distribute our brand new recipe cards or hang our posters that advertise the Mini Course. You can place an order print materials now »
Mini Course 1, 2, and 3 are available now at lms.eatfresh.org, or by clicking on the Kenny Kale button on the EatFresh.org homepage.