(Photo by Doug Clement Photography)

Researchers from Royal Roads University are teaming up with counterparts at Ryerson University to create a national initiative to educate Canadians about the COVID-19 pandemic.

The teams will be working on developing bite-size education initiatives, such as infographics and other digital media, and study online social networks to improve people’s understanding, knowledge, and beliefs about the novel coronavirus.

This project is supported by a $478,000 grant from the federal government, after they announced an investment of around $27 million to fund 47 research projects about COVID-19 across the country.

“Misinformation represents a huge risk during times of crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research is poised to not only help people get the life-saving information they need now, but also help to identify best practices to help people access the information they need in future crises scenarios,” says Royal Roads Assoc. Prof. Jaigris Hodson.

“By adopting a user-focused approach to developing microlearning, we’ll be able to target COVID-related information to those people who need it most in ways that make them most likely to engage with it, and share it with others.”

Part of the two-year research project will focus on investigating how coronavirus-related misinformation spreads through social media.

The team at Ryerson University will also develop a dashboard where the public can track researchers’ efforts to combat misinformation online.

Results of the project will include publications, an interactive website, infographics, animated videos, reports and online simulations.

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