Imagine learning about nutrition where you want it, when you want it, even right on your phone! Families in Nebraska and South Dakota are doing just that with The Dish: Real Talk About Food.
The Dish is a series of 25 short, interactive eLearning micro-lessons. Each lesson helps to improve the health, well-being, and resilience of families. These micro-lessons:
• offer life tips for users to plan meals, save money, and shop and eat healthier.
• are self-paced and easily viewed on a smartphone. This encourages learning at the point-of-decision making.
• are available at https://thedishrealtalk.com/.
The Dish is a collaborative project between the University of Nebraska-Lincoln’s SNAP-Ed and EFNEP and South Dakota State University SNAP-Ed and EFNEP. The project began in 2018 and was launched to the public in 2020. The planning phase included a needs assessment, as well as discussion groups with people that were eligible for or participating in nutrition assistance programs. The needs assessment revealed:
• that participants rely on mobile devices,
• that connectivity and technical literacy are not an issue and
• that self-perception of nutrition and wellness knowledge is high.
Upon entering the website, users indicate whether they are from Nebraska, South Dakota, or another state. This allows data to be delineated for each state’s reporting purposes. Analytics of the webpage reports information about page views, sessions, and users. The number of unique visits to the course and the total number of lessons completed are also tracked. Emails are also collected on a voluntary basis from users within the course and additional data will be collected from those individuals to measure the impact of the course content.
In the months of July and August 2020, The Dish website had 196 sessions across 101 new users with an average session duration of over
7 minutes (7:18). On average, 74.8% of users are new visitors and 25.2% of users are returning users. Interestingly, 86% of users accessed the information on a desktop, however the percentage of users that access the information from a mobile device has increased recently.
The evaluation efforts of The Dish are centered around the SNAP-Ed Evaluation Framework. They are focused on improving the health, well-being, and resilience of the adults that access The Dish materials. They are also related to food resource management and diet quality. (MT1, MT2, MT3).
As a response to COVID, the Nebraska SNAP-Ed and EFNEP team identified key topics that concerned the target audience. They launched a 5-week series called “The Dish: Real Talk about food Q&A”. This pseudo-podcast/video series addressed these COVID specific topics such as:
• feeding a family three meals and snacks every day
• meal prepping with what is on hand
• safe grocery shopping
• online grocery shopping
• saving money at the grocery store
• how to stress less about meal time
There were an average of over 1700 viewers engaged with each episode posted on Facebook, with a total of 454 post clicks and 256 reactions, comments, and shares. The video series is accessible at https://food.unl.edu/free-resource/nutrition-education-program-nep/dish-real-talk-food.