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GNC University: An effective business-education partnership

Published by the American Society of Agricultural and Biological Engineers, St. Joseph, Michigan

Citation:  Computers in Agriculture and Natural Resources, 4th World Congress Conference, Proceedings of the 24-26 July 2006 (Orlando, Florida USA) Publication Date 24 July 2006  701P0606.(doi:10.13031/2013.21875)
Authors:   R. Elaine Turner, Carmelo Nieves, Jr., Tracy A. Irani, Susan S. Percival
Keywords:   Nutrition education, online training, corporate training

The success of businesses is due, in part, to what their employees know and how effectively they acquire and incorporate new knowledge into their job. Institutions are operating in a competitive marketplace, creating a need for more business-education partnerships for distance education. GNC University is one such partnership between General Nutrition Centers, Inc. (GNC) and the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences at the University of Florida.

GNC University is a series of three online courses designed to teach fundamental nutrition concepts to GNC employees. To evaluate the effectiveness of this project, growth in participants ability to implement a set of specific skills and knowledge was measured for the second and third courses. The three competencies assessed were chosen based on data collected during the first course. Participants rated their competency level on a 7-item scale using a pretest-posttest online questionnaire.

Results of paired samples t-tests indicated significant growth for all three competencies; for students (N=182) who completed Course 2, career use of nutrition concepts increased from a pretest mean of 4.92 to a post test mean of 5.78; personal use of nutrition concepts increased from M=4.98 to M=5.40 and use of computer technology increased from M=5.04 to M= 5.61. For Course 3 (N=276), means increased from M=5.22 to M=5.85 for career use of nutrition concepts, from M=5.15 to M=5.78 for personal use of nutrition concepts and from M=5.19 to M=5.64 for use of technology, indicating that GNC University had a significant effect on skill and knowledge levels of participants.

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