Faculty-led Inquiry into Reflective and Scholarly Teaching (FIRST)


Date of this Version


Document Type



Zempleni, Sabine. "Enabling Conceptual Learning to Prepare Students for the New World of Nutrition Communication" (2021). UNL Faculty Portfolios, 178. https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/prtunl/178/


During the last decades, the flow of nutrition information between nutrition professionals and consumer has changed profoundly. Newest scientific findings are freely available from public data bases and often make it prematurely into the media and social media. Therefore, students need to require a precise knowledge of nutrition concepts, be able to explain the concepts to the consumer, and apply those concepts to eating decisions. Many students have not made the transition from memorizing individual facts to conceptual learning. Students will need appropriate learning tools and instructions to help them make this transition successfully. The goal of this Peer Review of Teaching Portfolio is to explore how learning tools can contribute to conceptual learning. The course explored in this portfolio is NUTR251 Nutrition Through the Lifecycle. Students learn how eating decision in all life stage can influence the development of chronic diseases and therefore the life expectancy and quality of life. Learning tools employed to support the students’ conceptual learning were multi-answer study quizzes, problem-solving activities, infographics, comprehension questions, and collaborative self-explanation. Analysis of exam score development and student surveys showed that the combination of learning tools was effective in aiding conceptual learning. Exam grades improved almost a full letter grade. The students reported that the learning tools aided in improving their understanding and application of nutrition concepts. The student surveys also identified that two learning tools need fine tuning, infographics and collaborative self-explanation. Overall, the course is on the right track. Future course design work will include adjustments to the learning tools and the evaluation how the conceptual learning is contributing to content retention.