The app has now evolved to mimic reality through the addition of countless features, including QR codes that simulate interventions such as masks, hazmat suits, diagnostic tests, and vaccines. Plus, it records pertinent data– such as the distance, duration, and time of interactions between students– to be used for virus spread mapping.
And most recently, the research team published a study in Patterns that analyzed the results of Operation Outbreak simulations after being implemented at Brigham and Young University (BYU) and Colorado Mesa University (CMU).
They found that college students were able to gain a much deeper understanding of viral spreads since the app was found to be easy to use, educational, and provided a hands-on element that cannot be replicated in a lecture. Moreover, the Operation Outbreak data collected by the app really motivated students to take proactive steps toward outbreak prevention.
“At BYU, it was inspiring to see the extent to which this simulation encouraged students to get involved with outbreak science projects,” began Ivan Specht, the study’s first author.
“Students formed an Operation Outbreak club and set up a website to help facilitate the simulation. After we collected data from the simulation, some of the people on that team helped us with some of the analyses, and I was very excited to see how eager they were to participate in this way of learning.”
Now, the researchers are hoping to use the CMU and BYU students’ feedback to make appropriate app changes before working on launching Operation Outbreak in more schools across the nation.
“We envision a world where Operation Outbreak is deployed at least once in every school because we think that children everywhere should get access to at least some level of outbreak science education,” Specht underscored.
To learn more about Operation Outbreak and read the study’s complete findings, visit the link here.
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