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Title: Problems posed by text-based synchronous collaborative learning to students with dyslexia: An investigation
Author: Woodfine, Brian
ISNI:       0000 0001 3572 1690
Awarding Body: University of Sheffield
Current Institution: University of Sheffield
Date of Award: 2007
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This project is investigating the ability of students with dyslexia to cope in an on-line synchronous learning environment. It identifies the problems that can cause problems in this environment, and will make suggestions about ways to remedy them, It begins by highlighting ways that e-Iearning is carried out, and also about what dyslexia is, and how it is covered in the Disability Discrimination Act, 1995 which was updated by the Special Educational Needs and Disability Act, 2001. The research then identifies 4 main areas of concern as problems: Reading, Spelling and sentence stmcture, Memory and Organisation and time management. It theorises how these will affect a student with dyslexia, and identifies other potential (though minor) problems. The project used a deductive approach to prove or disprove the hypothesis that 'students with dyslexia wiII encounter no problems in a synchronous e-Iearning environment'. The experiment used 8 groups, 4 in each of 2 conditions, (groups of 3 and groups of 5). The experiment used a problem based learning task, which involved the students communicating by means of a chat-room to discuss the problem, After the task, an interview was carried out to ascertain the subjects feelings to the other group participants, in respect ofhow they worked, amount of input, and how the task was completed. The analysis involved triangulating the findings of the amount of inputs per person from the conversation log, and how the perforn1ance of each group member was perceived by the other members. The interviews were also analysed to find if the expected problems did occur. The results were in fact as predicted, in that 7 out of 8 of the subjects who had dyslexia encountered problems in this environment. These problems were especially in the areas of reading, spelling and memory. Although the eighth subject seemed to have no problems in these areas, during the interview several problematic ~reas were in fact identified, which were in relation to the subject having volatile high self esteem. This acted as a mask to the problems encountered by this subject. The results of the experiments showed that the students with dyslexia did encounter problems when using a synchronous e-learning environment. They also showed that the problems were not down to just one area, but that they affected each student in different ways, This shows that further research is required in other universities to confirn1 these results, and to establish if they can be generalised over all universities. Other work also needs to be carried out to establish if there are remediation strategies that can be carried out to lessen the effect on both the student with dyslexia, and the other group members (especially if the subject has volatile high self esteem).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available