Date of Award





Doctor of Education


Counseling, Foundations & Leadership

First Advisor

Patricia Patrick

Second Advisor

Parul Acharya

Third Advisor

Clay Nicks/Heather Kitzman


The purpose of this convergent parallel mixed methods study was to investigate children’s learning experiences during the Eat a Georgia Rainbow program and to understand their motivation to learn about healthy eating and healthy cooking in relevance to the development of their intentions to adopt a healthy diet. The experiential learning theory was used as a lens during this study to emphasize the importance of participants learning experience through hands-on, task-oriented activities, and reflecting on the experiences. Recording camera-glasses, the Intrinsic Motivation Inventory (IMI) survey, Motivation for Diet survey, and follow-up individual interviews were used to collect data. In Phase I, data were collected from 50 child participants. During Phase II of the follow-up data collection, data were collected from 31 child participants and 20 parent participants. Pearson’s Product-Moment Correlation and simple linear regression analyses were conducted. The interview data were transcribed and coded, and a thematic search was conducted. There was not a relationship between child’s level of engagement, IMI survey scores, and Motivation for Diet survey scores. The child’s level of engagement and IMI survey score did not influence the child’s Motivation for Diet survey score. A joint display table was used to illustrate the integration of quantitative and qualitative data to compare and contrast the results. The interview data revealed that family conversations and participation in meal preparation did occur after the program. Exposing children to the topic of healthy eating and meal preparation is imperative, especially in an informal setting. Reinforcing what children were learning is imperative in sustaining long-term healthy behaviors; therefore, this model may be used in informal and higher education settings.