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Promoting Evidence Based Nutrition Education Across the World in a Competitive Space: Delivering a Massive Open Online Course

Department of Nutrition, Dietetics and Food, Monash University, Notting Hill, VIC 3168, Australia
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Nutrients 2020, 12(2), 344; https://doi.org/10.3390/nu12020344
Received: 6 January 2020 / Revised: 22 January 2020 / Accepted: 24 January 2020 / Published: 28 January 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nutrition Education in Medicine)
The internet is the fastest growing source of nutrition information for consumers. Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) provide and avenue for nutrition professionals’ urgent need to respond to consumer demand for low-cost, accessible and engaging information. This research aimed to evaluate learner participation and perceptions in an evidence-based nutrition MOOC and provide recommendations for engaging international online lay audiences. Learners completed pre and post course surveys including quantitative and open-ended questions. Pre-course surveys collected demographic data, prior nutrition knowledge and motivations for doing the course. Post-course surveys evaluated their preferred learning modes and learners’ opinions of the course. Quantitative were analyzed using descriptive statistics. Conventional content analysis was conducted on learners’ responses to open-ended survey questions using an inductive approach. Learners represented 158 countries from a range of educational backgrounds. There were 3799 qualitative comments related to learners’ learning and course content preferences. Qualitative analysis identified key themes related to (1) online interaction, the (2) value of the evidence presented by nutrition experts and (3) the course structure and practical aspects. Divergent opinions were expressed within these themes. Satisfying the needs of large international audiences with diverse backgrounds is challenging in promoting sound evidence-based nutrition messages. MOOCs provide a means for delivering evidence based global nutrition education in the online space crowded with food advertising and nutrition conjecture. Recommendations are made as to how to construct and engage diverse on-line audiences. View Full-Text
Keywords: distance education; global education; health promotion; internet; nutrition misinformation; online learning; social media distance education; global education; health promotion; internet; nutrition misinformation; online learning; social media
MDPI and ACS Style

Gibson, S.; Adamski, M.; Blumfield, M.; Dart, J.; Murgia, C.; Volders, E.; Truby, H. Promoting Evidence Based Nutrition Education Across the World in a Competitive Space: Delivering a Massive Open Online Course. Nutrients 2020, 12, 344.

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