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Digitally Blending HIV Prevention for Heightened Impact (Blended RTR or BRTR)


NIH, National Institute of Mental Health


Regina Firpo-Triplett (dfusion) and Karin Coyle (ETR)


In this Phase I SBIR project, dfusion with its research partner, Education Training and Research (ETR), will establish the technical merit and feasibility of producing and using a “blended” learning version of Reducing the Risk: Building Skills to Prevent Pregnancy, STD and HIV (RTR) for 14-18 year olds. A modernized delivery model will be used that capitalizes on recent trends, such as blended learning and technological advances to enhance students’ motivation and perceived relevancy, yielding stronger and more lasting impact. The Blended RTR prototype will use a flipped classroom approach and include traditional RTR classroom-based activities and new transposed online activities (InstaRTR activities) to be completed by youth as online assignments, outside of the classroom. This flipped classroom style version addresses two significant challenges with RTR’s current implementation:

  1. It reduces the amount of in-class time (from 17+ hours to 10 hours) needed to lead the curriculum, which increases scalability of the program and decreases potential truncation of the intervention, and
  2. It modernizes the delivery mode which will increase student engagement.

Additionally, the instructional context will be updated (beyond in-person sexual pressure to include digitally-based sexual pressure) thereby increasing youth relevance and consequently, engagement.

Once the first half of RTR is adapted to the BRTR format, it will be pilot tested by 5-8 educators and their students throughout the country. Once this Phase I project is complete, we will seek Phase II funding to build out the rest of BRTR and evaluate its effectiveness in a randomized controlled trial.

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