Using a Sensory Learning Framework to Design Effective Curricula: Evidence from Indigenous Nutrition Education Programs
As health disparities among Native Americans persist, promoting better health outcomes is of paramount concern among Native populations. A variety of programs exist that try to alleviate problems resulting in higher rates of diet-related chronic diseases and premature death. Indigenous-led nonprofits have implemented a series of nutritional education courses designed to empower community members to make healthier food choices. A theoretically-based curriculum, which provides learners information in the form of sensory-based modules, e.g., food preparation, food handling, cultural awareness, and practical cooking skills, has been introduced in various communities in the Great Plains and Southwest and met with success. We present evidence of success of a series of nutritional education programs, modeled after a canonical educational learning model Bloom’s Taxonomy, whereby families received information and resources necessary to make healthier food across three tiers. As each successive module of the program challenges higher cognitive domains, participants are more likely to indicate satisfaction in the course material as well as a desired change in their behavior, which we attribute to synthesizing and evaluating information to fully master program concepts. Aspects of this programming framework have the potential to be adapted to and integrated into other Native communities striving for the successful adoption of healthier diets.