An interdisciplinary team of University of Kentucky and NIOSH researchers completed this work with supplemental funding to a larger three-year project. The parent project involved the development and evaluation of a community education program to promote farmers' use of ROPS and seat belts on tractors. As part of the parent project, and another earlier NIOSH project, an initial paper and pencil version of the Kayles' Difficult Decisions simulation exercise was developed and evaluated. The simulation illustrates how good farm planning, management and safe work practices prevent injury, illness and economic loss. For this supplemental project, the team continued the development of the Kayles' simulation in both an enhanced paper version and a new parallel CD-ROM version. The primary goal of the project was to evaluate the effectiveness and impact of the two delivery formats on a target audience of high school social studies students. Data were collected from a total of 377 students (90 pilot study, 131 control, 74 paper, and 82 CD). Learning outcomes were assessed by 10 measures developed by the research team. Overall there was little difference in the effectiveness of the two versions of the simulation. The only difference between the paper and the CD groups was the students' evaluation of the simulation, and even here the differences were small though statistically significant (paper M = 82.1 %, CD M = 78.4%). The equal effectiveness of the paper and the CD versions is related to two factors. First, the paper version of the exercise was carefully developed, fully field tested, and perfected prior to the main study (see Appendix B). This made it relatively easy to program the CD version to include the same information and the same interactive structure within the same story line. Second, as the materials were revised, efforts were taken to make both versions as parallel, authentic, and attractive as possible. Teachers and students liked and became fully engaged in both versions of the simulation. Schools involved in the study continue to use the materials as part of their social studies curriculum and two counties are using the materials in their American Studies curricula as well. As one part of the activity, students contacted and interviewed a farmer about the issues in the simulation exercise. Student written reports and telephone interviews of the farmers who students interviewed suggest that the simulation exercise favorably influenced student and farmer knowledge and perceptions about the cost effectiveness of farm planning and farm safety practices, especially the use of ROPS and seat belts.
University of Kentucky, Department of Preventive Medicine, Lexington, KY