To explore undergraduates’ learning experiences and skill set development after completing an experiential learning course focused on Community-Based Participatory Research (CBPR).
Use of Theory or Research
Experiential learning, learning through experience and reflection by applying knowledge and facts to real-world problems, was used.
A course was adapted to teach concepts of CBPR using experiential learning. Seven students enrolled in the course from two universities and met once a week (50 minutes/class). Students developed and conducted a Needs Assessment of their campus (surveys, interviewed health/wellness professionals, and assessed environment). Students used the information to develop a health program pitch that would meet the health needs. Focus groups took place after the semester ended to capture student experiences.
Thematic analysis was conducted using two transcribed focus group discussions (N = 7). Each focus group consisted of three-four students. Eight questions were discussed regarding the role of CBPR and knowledge/experience gained. Focus groups were transcribed by one research assistant and verified by a second. Transcriptions were then coded for primary themes.
Themes showcased students’ understanding/application of CBPR concepts, and benefits of experiential learning in undergraduate courses. Themes included (1) advantages of experiential learning activities, "It was nice to actually apply skills we've learned...I feel like this course was nice because we got to do work that we could be doing after college;" (2) understanding the importance of CBPR, "CBPR allows us to meet participants where they are and have more of a mutual interaction for promoting and programming;" and (3) how to tailor programs to meet needs, "You can't force people to participate. Figure out what the issues are and then go from there. This gives you an idea for what students need."
After completing the course students understood the concepts of CBPR and reported that they received valuable hands-on learning experiences. The course was successful in advancing the knowledge base of CBPR and health programming skills of students.
Supplementary data related to this article can be found at https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2022.04.184.
Appendix. SUPPLEMENTARY DATA
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