Students' Reflections on an Experiential Learning Rotation With the Peer-Education About Weight Steadiness Club Program

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Henna Muzaffar:

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Pedagogy in Health Promotion





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Overview: Experiential learning has become a common pedagogical approach to provide university students an opportunity to apply classroom-acquired knowledge and skills in real-world settings. Evaluation of such experiences from a student perspective is needed to improve experiential learning opportunities offered in higher education settings. Purpose. The purpose of this qualitative study was to evaluate the experience of13 university students who rotated with a healthy lifestyle program for middle schoolers. Method. The Peer-education About Weight Steadiness Club program was implemented by peer or adult educators, as a healthy lifestyle after-school intervention. Trainees participated in a learning rotation with the program for 16 weeks and were exposed to research coordination and implementation of the nutrition and healthy lifestyles program. After finishing their rotation, trainees completed a structured elicitation interview conducted by a faculty member and a graduate assistant. The 11-question individual elicitation interview, ranging from 16 to 40 minutes, queried trainees on elements of the learning experience. A grounded theory approach was used to guide data coding and analyses, which led to formulation of themes. Results. Forty codes were assigned to segments of the interview responses, which were then coalesced to formulate six themes and 16 subthemes. Identified themes include (1) program context, (2) roles and responsibilities of trainees, (3) professional development of trainees, (4) overall program implementation, (5) factors influencing implementation, and (6) health and behavioral outcomes. Conclusions. Student trainees gained program content knowledge, acquired skills transferable to their careers, valued this learning experience, and planned to apply lessons learned.

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Experiential learning, Healthy lifestyle programs, Student trainees


School of Health Studies