Background on Group Education
What are group education strategies?
- Through group education interventions, trained instructors or facilitators (e.g., health educators, group exercise instructors) provide information and resources as part of group interactions to increase knowledge, skills and support related to reducing injuries from falls.
- Group education interventions may include presentations as well as individual or group activities that occur in classrooms (e.g., schools, colleges or universities), community centers, rehabilitation clinics, homes, churches, recreational facilities, worksites and other desired locations. Guided by a detailed curriculum, these interventions can:
- highlight the association between certain behaviors and injury from falls (e.g., infant walker use, physical activity),
- promote behavioral change (e.g., don’t use infant walkers, strength training),
- improve knowledge and skills related to the benefits of certain behaviors (e.g., balance and strength building exercises to reduce injury among the elderly) and challenges with making lifestyle changes (e.g., difficulty in finding places to be physically active), and
- influence social support or group norms (e.g., sharing strategies for overcoming challenges).
How does group education impact health behaviors?
- For many individuals, the group is a natural setting. People are often taught in groups, live in groups, and play in groups. Social interaction can be a key aspect of the developmental process as individuals learn by observing others and the results of their actions.
- Group Education can be designed to meet the needs of general audiences or specific groups (e.g., “targeted messages”). For example, the education interventions can address the special needs of populations with particular health concerns (e.g., adults with Parkinson’s disease or a history of stroke), or sectors of the labor force (e.g., construction workers, firefighters).
- Group education interventions can be most effective if they take into consideration both individual characteristics (e.g., knowledge, skills) and group circumstances (e.g., social norms, peer pressure). For example, it may be more helpful to have different group members talk about how walking and stretching more has helped them feel better physically and mentally, as opposed to simply describing the relationship between physical activity and risks for injuries from falls.
How can I use group education strategies in my injury from falls intervention?
- Group education interventions may be incorporated into existing education interventions (e.g., health education classes as part of parenting classes or child injury prevention as part of classes in school) or held independently.
What type of group education is best for my injury from falls intervention?
- There are many different kinds of group interactions that serve various purposes:
- Groups set up primarily for prevention (e.g., education or skills training to increase balance and strength to reduce potential for injury from falls among the elderly, education or skills training with children to address bicycle safety, water safety, or pedestrian safety).
- Groups concerned with specific health conditions and their improvement (i.e., education or skills training to help individuals with various health conditions such as Parkinson’s disease or history of stroke).
- Groups related to specific life adjustments, such as parenting (e.g., supervising children while climbing on playground equipment).
- Groups with similar work related concerns (e.g., construction workers, firefighters, mail carriers).
With whom do I need to work to develop a group education strategy for my injury from falls intervention?
- To develop your group education intervention, you will need to work with experienced health educators. Other useful partners may include senior centers/independent living facilities, community centers, community organizations, coalitions, schools, worksites, health departments, researchers, community members, and community leaders.