497-310: Creating an E-Learning Program that Fosters Good Social Judgement & Decision Making by Youth in America

Meeting Day/Time:
Thursdays from 10:00 am to 12:40 pm
Cause & Consequence
Jeremy Alexis (ID) (alexis@id.iit.edu) in consultation with Illinois Tech Digital Learning
Appropriate Disciplines
Social Innovation

In the US the death rate from gun homicides is about 31 per million people each year, which translates to 27 deaths daily. The impact on society is profound and pervasive, affecting families, neighborhoods, local governments, healthcare, law enforcement and the justice system, the economy, etc. Nowhere is the problem of gun violence more greatly manifested, concentrated and germinated than within America’s youth culture – spanning urban, suburban and rural environments.

How might we bring about positive change in this youth culture in an early and sustainable way? How might we better connect with our youth in ways that inspire, establish and reinforce traditional family values and values that reflect the best our society has to offer? How might we affect youth decision making to the extent that it may influence them to not make devastating choices that have irreversible consequences that affect other people’s lives and theirs as well?

An approach that Cause & Consequence aspires to pioneer, demonstrate and prove viable involves the creation of an innovative, engaging e-learning curriculum that can entertain, educate, inform and inspire. The intent is to bring about systemic change in our youth culture, one young person at a time, by re-emphasizing the norms of behavior that can develop individuals with the self-esteem, the capacity to contribute to society, and the empathy to appreciate the value of positive relationships.

The objective of this IPRO project is to design, prototype and demonstrate the viability of an e-learning curriculum that challenges and inspires our youth to think differently about how they make decisions that affect others and themselves in irreversible and profound ways. A valuable outcome will be an e-learning curriculum that has proven effectiveness in causing our youth to stop and think before they act and as a result change their behavior in a positive direction for their family, friends and themselves.

The IPRO team will advance through several phases of development, learning and applying user-centered design methods. This is the first semester to explore this IPRO topic and so it offers a great opportunity for students to lay a foundation that sets its direction for continuing development over several semesters in order to realize significant outcomes that have value to its stakeholders. The IPRO project begins with research into the types of youth personas that are evident across a spectrum of behaviors, and investigation of various solutions that have been tried with varying success. This is coupled with developing an understanding of how our youth learn and what motivates, intrigues and inspires them, and how current trends may affect such learning behaviors in the future. As an extracurricular program, it will also be important to understand the role of teachers, parents, grandparents, siblings and guardians in the learning experiences of our youth.

The research phase will create opportunities for capturing insights that look interesting and may help inform the direction an e-learning program may take that focuses on improving youth judgement and decision making and affecting culture change. The types of ideas that may emerge will be based on how to design a compelling e-learning curriculum platform that works effectively in engaging youth who may have limited learning motivation. This could include application of computer simulations of causes of actions and their consequences, ways to foster empathy for victims of crime, on-line or social media support systems, etc.

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