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Year : 2021  |  Volume : 34  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 73-76

Dietetics students' perceptions of classroom-based learning activities

Department of Individual, Family and Community Education; University of New Mexico; 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Correspondence Address:
Kathryn E Coakley
Department of Individual, Family and Community Education; University of New Mexico; 1 University of New Mexico, Albuquerque
New Mexico
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/efh.EfH_258_20

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Background: The Accreditation Council for Education in Nutrition and Dietetics requires that undergraduate dietetics courses utilize a variety of educational approaches to facilitate learning. The aim of this pilot study was to evaluate undergraduate nutrition students' perceptions of 16 classroom-based learning activities before and after taking an upper-level nutrition course. Methods: A survey was completed by students before and after taking an upper-level nutrition course, Methods in Nutrition Education, at a single university in the southwest region of the United States in fall 2016 and 2017. The survey included demographic questions and assessed students' perceptions of the helpfulness of 16 traditional and active classroom-based activities to learning. Perceptions were measured via Likert scale (1 = strongly disagree to 5 = strongly agree) at baseline and postcourse. Wilcoxon signed rank tests assessed changes in students' perceptions of learning activities from baseline to postcourse (significance = P < 0.05). Results: Ninety-seven completed baseline surveys; 67 (69%) completed postcourse surveys. Observing professionals (median = 5), interviewing professionals (median = 5), and critical thinking (median = 4) were perceived as most helpful to learning postcourse. Students agreed critical thinking, integrating material from other courses, interviewing professionals, case studies, writing short reports and summaries, and group projects and activities were significantly more helpful postcourse compared to baseline (P < 0.05). Discussion: Undergraduate nutrition students perceive a variety of classroom-based activities are helpful to learning including traditional (textbook readings, lectures) and active learning strategies (observation, practice). Instructors may consider implementing a variety of traditional and active learning strategies in upper-level nutrition and health-related courses to facilitate learning.

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