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IES Contract

Title: New INSIGHTS: A Technology-Enhanced Social and Emotional Learning Intervention
Center: NCER Year: 2022
Principal Investigator: McClowry, Sandee Awardee: INSIGHTS Intervention, LLC
Program: Small Business Innovation Research      [Program Details]
Award Period: 2 years (05/15/2022 – 05/14/2024) Award Amount: $1,000,000
Type: Phase II Development Award Number: 91990022C0037

Company Website:

Video Demonstration of the Existing Evidence-Based Intervention:

Purpose: School-aged children who fail to achieve proficient social and emotional competencies in areas such as self- and social-awareness and decision-making are at increased risk for disruptive behavior in class and at home, and poor academic readiness and achievement. School districts are increasingly incorporating social and emotional learning programs into their curriculum and due to the pandemic, the demand for SEL programs is growing.  With funding in the 2000s from the National Institutes for Health and the Institute of Education Sciences, researchers developed and evaluated INSIGHTS into Children's Temperament, a preventative intervention delivered by educators and parents using puppets to teach children in Kindergarten and Grade 1 about social and emotional skills around temperament. While the intervention was fully developed and multiple research studies (publications listed at the bottom of this page) demonstrated the efficacy of the intervention to improve children's social and emotional competencies, the intervention has not been used in schools at scale due to implementation challenges. This project team will develop a new product to enable a scalable and cost-efficient version of INSIGHTS that can be more easily delivered to and used by educators and parents in a wide variety of settings.

Project Activities:  During this Direct to Phase II project, the team will create a new version of INSIGHTS for use in schools at scale. The new product will be a web-based portal housing all intervention components, including videos presenting models for educators and parents to deliver the content; animated printable story-boards to support implementation in classrooms; activities for different problem-behaviors and interactive digital games to reinforce learning; and professional development resources. Iterative refinements to initial prototypes will be conducted with feedback from educators, parents, and children at major production milestones until the product is fully functional. After all prototypes are developed, the components will be integrated within the overall system.

After development is complete, the researchers will assess the usability, fidelity, and feasibility of the new product with 200 children (and parents) and educators in 10 Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms. The researchers will examine whether children (and parents) are able to use New INSIGHTS as intended, and whether teachers and parents believe that New INSIGHTS would be practical for their peers to use in real-world applications. Following the completion of this study, the team will carry out another study to assess pre-to-post outcomes of 100 children (and parents) and 10 educators using the New INSIGHTS.  This research will measure children's growth in social and emotional competencies and will compare results to those reported in prior efficacy trials to understand whether New INSIGHTS is as effective as the prior version. The study will employ validated measures, including the Parent Daily Report (PDR), the Eyberg Child Behavior Inventory, the Woodcock-Johnson Test of Achievement, and the Leiter-R. Researchers will also conduct a cost analysis using the CostOut tool to determine the cost per student needed to implement and use New INSIGHTS  .

Product: The research team  will develop a new version of the INSIGHTS Into Children's Temperament intervention, delivered as a product through a web-based portal that is accessible to early childhood educators and parents across delivery modalities (whiteboards, computers, tablets, and smartphones). The content for New INSIGHTS will be the same as the original version and will focus on children learning about the temperaments of four puppet characters, Coretta the Cautious, Gregory the Grumpy, Fredrico the Friendly, and Hilary the Hard Worker. Core components of the new product will include videos featuring Emmy-and-Grammy-Award-winning puppeteers using television-sized puppets to portray the temperament of characters and provide educators and parents examples for how to use the puppets; animated storyboards for classroom implementation, including animated graphics that can be printed-out; dilemma-resolving activities for different problem-behaviors; online games; and a website with professional development and learning resources. The project team will also develop a corresponding parenting application to support at-home implementation.

Related IES Project: Testing the Efficacy of INSIGHTS in Enhancing the Academic Learning Context (R305A080512)