Research, Evaluation, + Evidence
UTC was developed and informed through: 1) game-based learning (GBL), and 2) the social cognitive theory (SCT).
Game-Based Learning (GBL)
Games have the potential to be both engaging and educational. While traditional games aim to entertain the user, GBL aims to educate the user through game play. GBL is an effective teaching strategy that is highly attractive and motivating for participants. When designed appropriately, the user of GBL is motivated, focused, and engaged to the point of repeated playing or returning to the game over time. Research shows GBL cultivates critical thinking, motivates youth to apply knowledge and skills, and increases confidence levels. Ultimately, GBL is an effective strategy enabling students to develop, apply, and practice critical thinking skills more efficiently than traditional teaching methods.
Social Cognitive Theory (SCT)
The SCT states that changing a behavior is a function of: increasing a person’s knowledge and skills related to a behavior (behavioral capability), adjusting what a person thinks will happen if s/he makes the behavior change and if that expected outcome is positive (expectations and expectancies), increasing the person’s confidence to perform the behavior (self-efficacy), and increasing a person’s perceived control over making the behavior change (self-control). These theoretical constructs (mechanisms of change) have been consistently identified in empirical studies as salient factors in preventing teen pregnancy.
Feasibility testing revealed the following:
Youth liked learning about sexual health through the games and would play again with more people.
UTC was a fun way for youth to learn and easy for facilitators to lead because their role was to guide (and enhance as able); it required minimal input from the organizations aside from prep work to adapt the content to the community, which can be eased through strong community ties
UTC is currently going through rigorous evaluation (a randomized control trial (RCT)) funded by the Administration for Children and Families (ACF) - Family and Youth Services Bureau (FYSB) through the Personal Responsibility Education Innovative Strategies (PREIS) program.
Publications About UTC
Development of UTC
Esquivel, C. H., Wilson, K. L., Garney, W. R., Smith, C. E., McNeill, E. B., & McMaughan, D. J. (2022). Using Human-Centered Design to Develop an Innovative Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program: Lessons Learned from a Case Study. Creative Education, 13, 1439-1457. https://doi.org/10.4236/ce.2022.134088
Feasibility: Youth Acceptability
A Case Study Evaluating Youth Acceptability of Using the Connect – a Sexuality Education Game-Based Learning Program
The Comprehensive Healthcare for Adolescents Initiative (CHAI) project convenes a network of partners consisting of subject-matter experts, organizational partners, and a teen advisory group to develop an innovative program that improves youth access to and experiences with healthcare. By applying three frameworks: model of innovation, human-centered design, and systems thinking, this project seeks to transform the landscape of accessibility and experience with healthcare for youth. This project builds upon previous work conducted by the team through the iTP3 project and utilizes its expertise to lead innovative program development.