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Wearable Technology Effects on Training Outcomes of Restaurant Food Handlers

Clark, Jeffrey, Crandall, Phil, Shabatura, Jessica
Journal of food protection 2018 v.81 no.8 pp. 1220-1226
behavior change, cameras, compliance, food handling, food industry, food safety education, hand washing, labor force, motivation, neurons, self-efficacy
Food safety training does not always result in behavior change, perhaps because of flaws inherent in traditional training designs. New technologies such as augmented reality headsets or head-mounted action cameras could transform the way food safety training is conducted in the food industry. Training conducted with wearable technology presents visual content in the first-person or actor's perspective, as opposed to the traditional third-person or observer perspective. This visual hands-on first-person perspective may provide an effective way of conveying information and encouraging behavior execution because it uses the mirror neuron system. There is little published literature about the impact of perspective on food safety training outcomes, such as motivation. The present study included a repeated-measures design to determine how first- and third-person camera angles affected hand washing training reactions among 108 currently employed restaurant food handlers. Participants were assessed on their posttraining compliance intentions, compliance self-efficacy, perceived utility of the training, overall satisfaction with the training, and video perspective preference. A significant proportion of food handlers (64%) preferred the first-person video perspective (z = 5.00, P < 0.001), and a significant correlation was found between compliance intentions and compliance self-efficacy (r(108) = 0.361, P < 0.001) for the first-person video. No significant differences in video preference were found for demographic variables, including age (χ2 (2, n = 104) = 1.69, P = 0.430), which suggests that the first-person training format appeals to a diverse workforce. These findings support the application of wearable technology to enhance hand washing training outcomes across a wide range of demographic groups. This research lays the framework for future studies to assess the impact of instructional design on compliance concerning hand washing and other food handling behaviors.