Adolescent Real World Simulation

Period of Performance: 09/30/2009 - 09/29/2010


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Independent Living Resources, Inc.
Durham, NC 27705
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The purpose of the proposed project is to develop, implement, and evaluate the use of an Internet-based e-learning multimedia program that will allow foster care social workers, educators, and other youth workers to plan one-day real world simulations that would allow adolescent foster youths, ages 13-21, to learn and practice independent living skills. Research on foster care reveals that the foster care system does not prepare foster teens adequately to transition from being dependent youths to independent self-sufficient adults. As a result, many former foster youths struggle to achieve self-sufficiency and often end up living marginally after leaving foster care. The proposed program, Adolescent Real World Simulation e-learning Program (ARWP), focuses on those who work with adolescent foster youths. It is also intended to assist any professional that works with adolescents to develop the skills necessary to plan and implement an independent living simulation in a real-world environment. In Phase I the ARWP Internet-based program will demonstrate how three core planning components;preparation, management, and follow-up are used to develop a comprehensive daylong real world youth simulation (Griffin and Carter 2004). Phase I will develop the Introduction to an Adolescent Real World Simulation segment. The second and third segments, Practice Simulation and Event Planning, will be developed in Phase II. The Phase I introductory segment will detail programming benefits for youths, how to involve community businesses and coordinate all aspects of a real world simulation. The e-learning process will include video, graphics, intermediate learning milestones, self-evaluations, and interactive activities to illustrate the three core planning components. A project evaluation will be incorporated to measure increases in user's knowledge to plan, coordinate, and complete a real world simulation, and their overall satisfaction with the e-learning program and subsequent motivation to plan an event. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This project has the potential to have a dramatic exponential effect on the number of youths involved in real world simulations. This potential is significantly higher and more inclusive than many other forms of life skills instruction. This type of training can effectively influence the training approaches of professionals and paraprofessionals who provide life skills programming and who would then conduct one-day events that would touch hundreds of adolescents who are in need of active involvement in their own life skills development and supportive transitions from foster care to the community.