An Effective Conceptual Multisensory Multimedia Model To Support Dyslexic Children In Learning

An Effective Conceptual Multisensory Multimedia Model To Support Dyslexic Children In Learning

Manjit Singh Sidhu (Tenaga National University, Malaysia) and Eze Manzura (Tenaga National University, Malaysia)
DOI: 10.4018/jicte.2011070104
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Abstract

Multimedia has affected many areas in education and benefited users, including disabled ones. In this paper the authors propose an effective conceptual courseware development model specifically for dyslexic children. Five essential features are identified to support this model, namely, interaction, activities, background colour customization, directional text reading (left-right) identification, and detail instructions. A prototype courseware based on the proposed model was developed and tested with a small sample of dyslexic children from selected schools in Malaysia. The evaluation showed positive results in terms of performance whereby 60% of the users showed improvement in their performance, 30% showed unchanged results and 10% displayed a decrease in performance.
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Introduction

Dyslexia is associated with difficulty or problem with words specifically in reading, spelling and expressing thoughts on paper (Greene, 2006). Dyslexic children are physically and mentally normal but have unusual difficulties in reading, spelling and writing. According to a local press the New Straits Times (2009), it is estimated about 5% of school going children in Malaysia are dyslexic.

The word dyslexia is derived from the Greek word “dys” meaning poor or inadequate and “lexis” means words or language (British Dyslexia Association, 2008). Along with the difficulties mentioned above, dyslexia also affects memory, concentration, sometimes mathematics, music and self-organization (Hornsby, 1995). According to some psychologists dyslexia is not a disease (Vicari et al., 2005; Shaywitz, 2003; Berninger et al., 2008). This is supported by Sariah Amirin (The Berita Harian Press, 2009), the President of Dyslexia Association, Malaysia in the quotation below:

“Dyslexia is not a disease it occurs in children with normal vision and nothing to do with the hearing, sight and brain damage. It happens because the brain lacks of a function to translate the image seen or heard into something meaningful.”

Recently, there have been a number of researchers looking at the benefits of multimedia educational courseware and addressing various educational issues in the market. This indicates that multimedia applications are widely used within the educational domain. Among others, the use of multimedia as secondary learning tool could play an important role to motivate students’ interest hence improving their performance in learning.

The main objective of this research was to study the problems faced by dyslexic children and to evaluate their preferred learning styles. In addition better multimedia tools could be developing for them to use in their learning.

Current State Of Education For Dyslexic Children In Malaysia

In Malaysia, the dyslexia program was initiated by the Education Ministry in 2004 where “Sekolah Kebangsaan Taman Tun Dr. Ismail” was the first school. At present, it is estimated around 5% or 314,000 of school going children in Malaysia are dyslexic (New Straits Times, 2009). Even though the figure is fairly high, the number of schools and trained personnel addressing the problems are relatively small; there are only about 30 schools that offer special programs for the dyslexic and 100 trained teachers in this field (Devaraj & Roslan, 2006; New Straits Times, 2009). Moreover, due to the lack of knowledge, dyslexic children are left behind and often misjudged as being lazy and slow learners (low ability children with low IQ).

Based on the above-mentioned limitations, a study was conducted on the problems faced by dyslexic children and also the awareness level of this problem in Malaysia. Based on the results gathered from readings (journals and articles) and also interviews (Dyslexic program teachers), it can be concluded that Malaysia still lacks materials and experts in the field (Lee, 2008; Devaraj & Roslan, 2006; Gomez, 2004). In a recent work, the causes and symptoms of dyslexia have been defined (Eze, 2010).

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