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Health-Literacy and Diversity for Secondary School Students – HeLi-D

The aim of the project HeLi-D was the development of a training program for promoting health literacy in secondary school students with highly diverse backgrounds regarding first language, socioeconomic status and disability. Within the project, health literacy is understood as the ability to find, understand, critically evaluate and apply health-related information. Considering the Internet’s important role in the students’ everyday life in general and its importance as a source of health-related information in particular, the HeLi-D project mainly focuses on digital components of health literacy.

In a participatory process with students, an adaptive digital training (ADT) program was developed. This ADT was implemented and evaluated over three to five weeks in spring 2019 applying a longitudinal study design. In total, 1113 students (681 intervention group, 432 control group) in Grades 6 and 7 in Styrian Middle Schools and Academic High Schools were involved. The core features of the ADT are its adaptivity and the linguistically differentiated content. This makes it possible for all students in a class to work on one and the same topic in an inclusive setting, regardless of their individual competencies.

The training program comprises five modules on different health-related topics. Each module consists of informational texts, reading comprehension tasks, and online research tasks, framed by a narrative text (i.e. a story). The texts within the modules are available in four different linguistic difficulty levels and are adaptively assigned to students according to their reading skills.

The project is funded by the Gesundheitsfonds Steiermark (Health Fund Styria) and has a duration of three and a half years (January 2018 to June 2021). The project is led by Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Gasteiger-Klicpera (University of Graz) and carried out together with the Know-Center GmbH and the Medical University of Graz (Department of Surgery and Institute of General Practice and Evidence Based Health Services Research). The Know-Center is responsible for the programming of the ADT and the Medical University of Graz is mainly responsible for assuring the validity and accuracy of the content. The University of Graz is responsible for the design of the training materials and the implementation and evaluation of the intervention.


Partner organizations:

Know Center Graz

Medical University of Graz


Project leader: Univ.-Prof.in Dr.in Barbara Gasteiger Klicpera

Project staff: Katharina Maitz BA MA and Dominik Pendl, BA MSc.

Contact: Katharina Maitz BA MA


The department is also a member of the Austrian Health Literacy Alliance (ÖGPK).

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