Children's acquisition and retention of safety skills: the Lifeskills program.
Lamb R., Joshi MS., Carter W., Cowburn G., Matthews A.
OBJECTIVES: Assessment of safety skills performance and knowledge, to evaluate the education offered by the Lifeskills "Learning for Living" village, Bristol, UK which emphasizes interactive learning-by-doing. DESIGN: Two quasi-experimental matched control group studies. Study 1: knowledge and performance three months post-intervention. Study 2: knowledge pre-intervention and post-intervention at three time points, to distinguish between immediate learning and longer term retention. SETTING: The Lifeskills training village, Bristol, UK; primary schools in four education authorities in the area. PARTICIPANTS: Study 1: 145 children aged 10-11 years; 109 from the Lifeskills program, 36 control. Study 2: 671 children aged 10-11 years; 511 Lifeskills, 160 control. OUTCOME MEASURES: Three areas (road, home, and fire safety). Five performance tests: observation of children's safety skills. Five knowledge tests: pictorial quiz. RESULTS: Study 1: Lifeskills/intervention children did better than control children on performance and knowledge tests. The knowledge-performance correlation was r = 0.51. Study 2: intervention children did better than control children immediately after the intervention and three months later on all five knowledge tests. On three tests the intervention group showed retention of knowledge from immediately post-intervention to three months, but on two tests there was some loss. This loss was primarily among children from scholastically lower achieving schools. In all other respects the intervention was equally successful for boys and girls, and for children from higher and lower achieving schools. CONCLUSIONS: The Lifeskills package improved both knowledge and performance but had shortcomings. Complexity of material did not affect knowledge acquisition but did affect its retention.