Research Article| Volume 52, ISSUE 4, P343-350, April 2020

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Using Interactive Nutrition Modules to Increase Critical Thinking Skills in College Courses



      To understand how the addition of an evidence-based framework to an online nutrition module influences college students’ critical thinking decision making (CT-DM).


      Students were individually randomized into an intervention group or a control group. The nutrition modules focused on 2 topics related to different types of eating behavior. Students completed a CT-DM activity to generate a score.


      College students, between 18 and 24 years old, recruited from introductory nutrition and agriculture science courses at 2 universities.


      Intervention and control received 2 nutrition modules. The intervention added a CT-DM framework that framed the topic as a problem, incorporated activities, and provided scaffolding.

      Main Outcome Measures

      CT-DM was scored using a validated rubric to assess the use of critical thinking skills when making a food-related decision. Green eating and critical thinking disposition were measured.


      Hierarchical linear regression and t tests were used to assess outcomes.


      A total of 431 students participated (intervention = 203; control = 228). After controlling for university, the intervention group scored significantly higher on CT-DM (18.1 ± 7.6) compared with the control (15.4 ± 8.4); F (3,428) = 14.58, P < .001.

      Conclusions and Implications

      The results show that an evidence-based framework using nutrition topics encourages CT-DM skills. Future higher-education nutrition interventions should use frameworks to enhance student learning.

      Key Words

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