Senior Design Projects

ECS193 A/B Winter & Spring 2019

Gamification of a Nutrition Literacy Mini-Course for Low-Income College Students

Name Lisa Soederberg Miller
Affiliation Human Ecology, UCD

Project's details

Project title Gamification of a Nutrition Literacy Mini-Course for Low-Income College Students
Background Poor dietary habits are considered to be a major preventable cause of premature death and represent over 20% of total healthcare costs. Adolescence and early adulthood are important periods in which to learn healthy food-choice skills that help to lay a foundation of health to last through the life course. Unfortunately, young adults in general, and low-income young adults in particular, are increasingly likely to eat prepared foods which are often less nutritious. Nutrition literacy, defined as nutrition knowledge and food-choice skills, plays an important role in guiding healthy dietary choices, but young adults often lack nutrition literacy as well as motivation to become nutritionally literate because of time, interest, or effort. The goal of this proposal is to modify an existing online mini-course through the creation of game activities, appropriate for a college student audience, that reinforce the learning content of the course in order to 1 ) increase user motivation to complete the tasks and 2 ) improve learning outcomes. The mini-course is targeted for low-income college students, many of whom work multiple-jobs and may not see the benefits of learning nutrition literacy skills. We seek a team of creative students to help us transform the mini course into an effective and enjoyable learning experience for college students. Features of the game activities could include tracking of progress with personal best, different forms of visualization/charts of progress, playing against the game, awards/points/badges, as well as multiple types of feedback ( to inform about progress; to reward and motivate ). Gamification of learning activities represents a powerful and innovative way to tackle the problem of poor dietary habits and represents a paradigm shift in competitive world of health apps.
Description Translational importance: Adherence to a healthy diet can prevent, reduce, or delay the impact of a wide range of conditions ( e.g., obesity, some forms of cancer, and cardiovascular diseases ). Research is clear in showing that food choice is a multi-faceted and complex behavior that requires a wide range of activities and reinforcements to initiate behavior change and sustain healthy practices. This low-cost, skill-based approach to promoting nutrition literacy among young adults using engaging learning games has the potential for far-reaching impact on college students’ food choices, with the potential for long-term payoffs in terms of decreased chronic disease and premature death and lower healthcare costs.
Deliverable The desired outcome is the addition of 3-4 game activity prototypes to the mini-course ( see “Preview the Mini Course” at ) The mini-course was built in Articulate Storyline and lives on a Moodle Platform. Sample game activity ideas: 1 ) The Knowledge Bowl – Creating gamified rounds of quizzes ( multiple choice, matching items ) within each topic area; mastery tests to consolidate learning. After each quiz/test, option to view each question and correct answer, option to click on link to revisit section of mini-course; visual display of number/type quizzes completed ( at 85% correct or better ), number of attempts, total scores for each topic area. 2 ) Food Fight ‐ Pitting two foods against each other to determine which is the better choice; completed for accuracy and speed, within each content area of the mini-course.
Skill set desirable interest in nutrition and/or cognitive science ( attention/learning/memory ); experience playing digital games; interest in gamification
Phone number 5307523955
Client time availability 30-60 min weekly or more
IP requirement Client wishes to keep IP of the project
Attachment Click here
Selected Yes
Stuff N/A
TA Jonathan