Implementing experiential learning activities in a large enrollment introductory food science and human nutrition course


Experiential learning activities are often viewed as impractical, and potentially unfeasible, instructional tools to employ in a large class. Research has shown, though, that the metacognitive skills that students utilize while participating in experiential learning activities enable students to assess their true level of understanding and mastery for the subject matter. The objective of this study was to evaluate whether students in a large (~660 person) Introduction to Food Science and Human Nutrition (FSHN 101) course improved their understanding of dietary intake and food safety after participating in two experiential learning activities developed for these course topics. The first activity, completed during class, asked students to select one day???s worth of food from a list of menu choices, calculate the nutritional value of their food choices, and then compare their daily nutritional intake to the dietary reference intakes for their gender, age category and health status. The second activity, completed via the course website, asked students to complete one food safety survey prior to the commencement of the course???s food microbiology section to assess the students' personal food safety behaviors and a second survey upon completion of the section to assess students' knowledge of recommended food safety practices. Students were asked to evaluate both the cognitive and affective aspects of the experiential learning activities by completing a reflective questionnaire after participating in each activity. Overall, students' responses revealed that the activities were effective learning tools and that the students liked engaging with the material on a personal application level. A Poster version of this article can be found in the IDEALS SoTL Presentations and Posters folder.published or submitted for publicationis peer reviewe

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