Developing digital resources to teach secondary school students to think critically about health information and choices: human-centred design
2School of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Rwanda, Rwanda
3Makerere University, College of Health Sciences, Uganda
4Tropical Institute of Community Health and Development in Africa, Kenya
Background: Many people find it difficult to make decisions about what to believe or do regarding their own and others’ health. To avoid being misled by misinformation and to make good choices, people must be able to understand and apply some basic concepts. We developed the Informed Health Choices (IHC) secondary school resources to help students learn and use nine such concepts.
Objectives: To develop digital IHC secondary school resources that increase students’ ability to think critically about health information and choices, are compatible with the curricula in Kenya, Rwanda, and Uganda, and are suitable for use in low-resource settings with limited digital infrastructure.
Methods: We used a human-centered design approach, drawing extensively on the experiences and perspectives of multiple stakeholders, including teachers, students, and curriculum developers, over a 2-year period. In Phase 1, we conducted four preliminary studies, including context analyses and an overview of systematic review of teaching strategies for critical thinking. In Phase 2, we carried out three iterations of content development, collecting data through user testing, individual and group interviews, and school pilots; brainstorming solutions to problems; creating new versions of the resources; and triangulating analyses and solutions with curriculum developer offices.
Results: Four main challenges persisted throughout development: the Student-computer mode of lesson plans (which we deactivated), time for scheduling and teaching lessons, correct comprehension of the concepts, and use of engaging examples that were not misleading. The final version of the resources includes lesson plans for ten 40-minute lessons (for use in classrooms equipped with either a blackboard/flipboard or a projector), teachers’ guide, and extra resources, including materials for teacher training.
Conclusions: We developed lessons to teach secondary school students to think critically about health information and choices: https://besmarthealth.org/. They are open-access, work in low-resource settings, and are adaptable/translatable. Relevance to public: Teaching young people to think critically about health actions has the potential to protect them from unnecessary suffering, harm, and resource waste.
Patient, public and/or healthcare consumer involvement: Using a human-centered design approach, teachers, students, and curriculum developers were continuously involved in developing the intervention.