First Lady, Michelle Obama’s interest in obesity prevention has put this topic on many educators’ radar screens. My company, Web Courseworks, has assisted the Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin’s (CHW) efforts to teach healthy behaviors to children via eLearning since 2002. Now that I have made my disclaimer, I would like to introduce Dr. Richard Schafer of the CHW’s Children’s Education Center. In this interview, he talks about the success of the program and how their Obesity Prevention program is “technology-based, teacher-driven and student-centered.” And, can you believe it? It is delivered on the Internet for kindergarten through third grade! Take a listen:

300,000 Lessons Reach Children
In the following clip, Dr. Schafer explains that the online Obesity Prevention program was piloted in three schools, in La Crosse, WI. According to Dr. Schafer, over 1,500 children participated in the program. They hope to reach over 5,000 children during the coming school year. This is in addition to the 25,000 plus students who have already participated in one of BlueKids thirteen programs all geared towards children’s health education. Listen to Dr. Schafer explain how when these programs are broken into lessons, the children were exposed to over 300,000 learning sessions! Go eLearning! Take a listen:

Knowledge Gain & Behavioral Change
In the following clip, Dr. Schafer explains that the Children’s Hospital researchers are proving that the programs do more than just increase the children’s knowledge of the topic, they help change the children’s behavior. He expresses his excitement as he describes how online delivery facilitates the gathering of research data, pre and post-assessments and evaluation. He then compares online learning to place-based education (the Children’s Education Center classrooms are housed in downtown Milwaukee). Take a listen:

Smart Boards will Rule
I also talked with Dr. Schafer about the change taking place within schools from a hardware perspective. In the early part of the decade, eLearning programs had to be delivered in computer labs. Today with Smart Boards and inexpensive projectors, teachers can share interactive lessons with the entire class. Dr. Schafer also talks about how the Obesity Prevention program tries to promote the goal of “anti-sitting in your seat.” He says kids are tired of being talked to. Take a listen:

Does Michelle Obama Know about the BlueKids Obesity Prevention Program?
This program, funded by a Center for Disease Control grant, has received some publicity, but has not yet caught the attention of the First Lady. Dr. Schafer is still excited and hopes to get the program into a national contest. Take a listen: