Towards a multimedia computer assisted careers guidance system for adults with dyslexia
Dyslexic people face particular problems in employment. These problems, coupled with a lack of specialist support, create a critical need for specially tailored computer assisted careers guidance (CACG) systems. The primary objective of this thesis is to establish guidelines for the design of such a system. Section one examines the possibility of providing training or guidance for dyslexic people via computer, and focuses on the use of symbolic information. The results of Study 1, using British road traffic signs, indicate that dyslexic people are deficient in implicit learning, even for symbolic information. Consequently, despite the advantage of symbol based systems for dyslexics, explicit training in system use is likely to be essential. Section two examines the potential of such systems for delivering specially tailored CACG to dyslexic people. The literature on careers guidance for dyslexic people suggests that they particularly benefit from increased insight into the nature of their disability, and knowledge of its implications. Careers guidance for dyslexics would therefore be optimised by guidance in: the nature of their disabilities; likely effects of their disabilities; implications for careers decisions; and opportunities for overcoming dyslexia-related difficulties. It is argued that multimedia systems, encapsulating an open learning approach, are particularly appropriate for dyslexic people. Modern multimedia computer assisted careers guidance (CACG) systems have the potential to facilitate these beneficial processes, and to provide valuable information and support materials. However, presently available systems of this sort are far from suitable for dyslexics. Unfortunately, little information on multimedia or CACG relates directly to dyslexia. To counter this, three studies were conducted; an interview study of selected dyslexia professionals, a questionnaire study of a wider range of dyslexia professionals, and a questionnaire study of dyslexic adults. Each was designed to establish: how careers guidance for dyslexic people can be improved; the feasibility and desirability of multimedia CACG for dyslexic people; and the design characteristics of such a CACG system. Not only was it generally agreed that such a system is feasible, and desirable, but also strong support was voiced for the central use of video resources. However, it was stressed that the system should not be allowed to replace human guidance. The results of these studies are combined with the conclusions from the literature, to construct a detailed design and description of a multimedia CACG system for dyslexic people.