Project Narrative Public misconceptions about infectious diseases are a growing threat to our nation’s ability to combat disease outbreaks. This project seeks to use innovative and compelling game-based simulations to remediate misconceptions about infectious diseases. These simulations will be part of an integrated educational program designed to build systems thinking and data literacy skills and increase the awareness of and enthusiasm for biomedical careers.
Scientific misconceptions are becoming increasingly pervasive and damaging to the national interest. The ongoing SARS-CoV-2 pandemic has highlighted how misconceptions related to infectious disease can pose serious medical, economic, and social challenges by increasing non-compliance with public health recommendations and undermining trust in scientific institutions. Unfortunately, once scientific misconceptions are adopted by an individual, they are notoriously difficult to remediate by merely presenting the “correct” information. We need educational programs and tools that integrate evidence-based information with broader societal factors, representation of individual risk, and multiple representations of information to improve our ability to correct misconceptions. Our goal is to create an innovative, sustainable, and reproducible educational program that: (1) Creates and deploys an innovative game-based simulation to educate users about infectious diseases, (2) Inspires young people from diverse backgrounds to consider careers in biomedical research, (3) Provides teachers with engaging and easily adopted digital tools that build students’ systems thinking and data science literacy skills, and (4) Conducts innovative STEM education research about the remediation of misconceptions using systems thinking and Advanced Learning Technologies.