Background on Group Education
What are group education strategies?
- Through group education interventions, trained instructors or facilitators (e.g., health educators) provide information and resources as part of group interactions to increase knowledge, skills and support related to increasing reducing motor vehicle injury.
- Group education interventions may include presentations as well as individual or group activities that occur in classrooms, community centers, juvenile detention centers, day care centers, homes, churches, or worksites depending on the focus of the program. Guided by a detailed curriculum, these interventions can:
- increase knowledge and skills regarding motor vehicle safety,
- provide information about the association between risk behaviors and motor vehicle injury (e.g., driving under the influence, aggressive or risky driving behaviors),
- promote specific behavioral changes (e.g., the use of restraints to reduce injury through infant/child car seat and seat belt use),
- educate participants about the challenges with making lifestyle changes (e.g., dealing with children crying in car seats, or finding a designated driver),
- and influence social support or group norms (e.g., sharing strategies for dealing with a crying child, or identifying a designated driver prior to initiation of drinking behavior).
How does group education impact motor vehicle injury related 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 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 what specific steps they initiate to reduce the risks of driving under the influence and how they have addressed the challenges this has posed, as opposed to simply describing the relationship between drinking under the influence and motor vehicle injuries.
- Group education interventions can be designed to meet the needs of general audiences or specific groups (e.g., “targeted messages”). For example, education interventions can address the needs of drivers in general or those with a history of driving under the influence. In addition, group education interventions can be for the drivers themselves or for those serving alcohol to those who are drinking.
How can I use group education strategies in my motor vehicle injury interventions?
- Group education interventions may be incorporated into existing education interventions (e.g., health education classes in schools, prenatal care classes) or held independently.
What type of group education is best for my motor vehicle injury intervention?
- There are many different kinds of group interactions that serve various purposes:
- Groups set up primarily for prevention (i.e., education or skills training for parents to encourage use of infant/child car seats; for servers of alcohol to reduce intoxication or reduce driving under the influence; or for new drivers to reduce drinking under the influence or aggressive driving behaviors).
- Groups concerned with individuals who have already been identified as being at risk of motor vehicle injury (e.g., those already convicted of drinking under the influence, commercial drivers at risk for fatigue).
- Groups related to general life adjustments, self-management, and lifestyle related to a certain stage of development within the life course (i.e., education or skills training for adolescents as new drivers, students waiting at the bus stop for the first time, or new parents).
With whom do I need to work to develop a group education strategy for my motor vehicle injury 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.