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Study into English Courseware for Slow Learners

Abstract- Current craze signify that learning by using request and courseware had become important teaching method. However, it differs case for slow-moving learners. Because so many schools slowly adapting the more effective teaching method, they cannot match the flow. Despite the fact that there are courseware developed for the gradual learners, the courseware is definately not fulfilling their specific needs. Statistic shows that in a US typical classroom you will see three or four 4 slow learners. In areas of poverty and many low-income urban areas, the children per class who could be characterized as poor learners might be double that amount. The attribute of the slow learners tend to be described as immature in relationships, find it hard to solve complex problem, work very slowly and gradually, may easily lose track of time, unable to perform long-term goals, and have poor focus skills. However, they are very good with hands-on materials. This paper will present the introduction of courseware made to teach English for the poor learners.

Keywords-component: courseware; slow learners; British;

Introduction

Background

Slow learners are no more rare circumstances in Malaysia. However, they are not categorized as people with special needs. Some might confuse the gradual learners with dyslexia. However, both conditions are different. Dyslexic will have problems in understanding how to read and write despite having same learning process and work with others. For gradual learners, they do not do well at classes or task that want considerable reading, writing, and mathematic but they perform great outside class especially in hands-on responsibilities. They will need more time in doing the duties given. Because of their characteristics, sluggish learners are always left behind as they cannot catch up with the training process been through by other kids. Even though new technology has been developed to improve learning process, they are left out because it is not fitted to their learning needs.

This project is intend to enhance the English courseware designed for the poor learners in way that will aid their learning needs which differs from other kids. The courseware will be concentrate on non-linear techniques to make it adaptable and even more conducive for the slow-moving learners.

As there is not a lot of courseware developed for gradual learners, the product of the project will significantly bring the learning process for the poor learners into new level and brighten the hope for them to learn like normal kids.

Problem Statement

Teaching slow-moving learners isn't same like educating normal kids. Teaching them require different methods and techniques because of their characteristics. As learning process moving on taking advantage of computers and internet, sluggish learners are left out because there are no specific learning applications for these people that will suit their needs especially in critical things such as Research and Mathematic. There are several courseware in the market out there but it is inadequate in numbers which is definately not perfect. This new courseware to be developed will be a great tool for professor to teach English to the gradual learners because it will boost what's already in the courseware and make it better.

Objectives and Range of Studies

Objectives

The objective of the project is to improve the current English courseware from Mohd Izzat Helmi Bin Yahya's English Courseware for Slow Learners job and will be specifically created for the slow learners so the learning process will suit their needs. Because of their characteristics, the courseware will need careful designation. . The courseware will enrich English learning process which already in today's courseware and make it more interactive and adaptable.

Scope of Studies

The project calls for the analysis of gradual learner action and courseware development. The result of the study then will be analyzed to develop and improving cognitive skills training that will be included with the courseware so that the target to teach slow learners may be accomplished. Target group of the courseware will be main school college student in Standard 4 to Standard 6 (10-12 years old). The courseware will be developed as a game to teach General English.

Literature Review

Game-Based Learning

Marc Prensky (2003) says that since Pong is launched in 1974, the initial competence that game designers have honed to a superfine border is player proposal: the ability to keep people in their seating for hour after hour, every single day, at rapt attention, positively trying to attain new goals, shouting with glee at their successes, established to beat their failures, even while begging for much more. Combined with the new technology that were developed in recent years, games had are more than just entertainment, it experienced evolve to be the medium of learning. In Digital Game-Based Learning (Prensky, 2001), make clear that children nowadays will vary from previous generation where they increase up with digital technology and their minds are changing to accommodate the technology with which they spend additional time. After that, it is clear that most children nowadays from different gender, age groups and social teams spends the majority of the time with video games. Many experts start to see the values in video gaming as a medium of learning. Its true that this children love games more than classes but their behaviour toward games is the attitude of the learners; ardent, cooperative, and positively entail in problem-solving. Research by Zyda (2007) dispute that video games are an engaging medium for learning, since video games can promote cognitive operations such as reading explicit and implicit information, deductive and inductive reasoning, problem-solving, and making inferences from information displayed across a number of screens

To define game based mostly learning will be quite complicated because there are a number of different opinion on the problem. Kirjavainen(2009) define game-based learning as field of research and game design predicated on observations that play, organized or unstructured, conditions the human brain for transformation and learning. Wee Hoe Tan(2008) defines game-based learning as form of learner-centered learning that uses electronic digital video games for educational purposes. However, the idea of game-based learning is still the same; the use of game with the described learning outcomes for the purpose of learning.

Kasvi (2000) lists the seven requirements for effective learning environment as:

Provide a higher intensity of connection and reviews;

Have specific goals and founded procedures;

Be motivational;

Provide a continual sense of challenge, not too difficult to be irritating nor too easy to produce boredom;

Provide a sense of direct proposal on the duty involved;

Provide the correct tools that fit the duty; and

Avoid distractions and disruptions that destroy the subjective experience.

Kasvi (2000) suggests that computer games fulfill all of these requirements and is convinced that they "satisfy them better than most other learning mediums". By looking at how the Western world acquired employed game as learning component in class room, it proves that the declaration holds true. R. V. Eck(2006) clarify that video games like Civilization, SimCity 4, Cruise Ship Tycoon, and Roller Coaster Tycoon experienced already been applied in class room. People might be skeptical at first glance. All these video games have prove them wrong. For instance, in Roller Coaster Tycoon students build roller-coasters to different features, which is what engineers must do. By increasing the gameplay with basic learning process like calculus physic knowledge, it will make a very important learning experience.

Slow Learners in Malaysia

In Malaysia, dyslexic children got begin to receive attention when MyLexics, a courseware to help the dyslexic learn basic Malay words is presented (Haziq, 2009). However, from the different storyline for the gradual learners. In fact, there are cases reported where slow learners are left out in the classes (NST, 2008). Instances like this shouldn't happen because even though these are weak in analysis they are definitely very good in other aspects.

Even worse, One atlanta divorce attorneys three juvenile delinquent in integrity university in jail or detention centers exhibits learning troubles including being gradual learners. (The Star, 2008) Many believe if these children not discovered and helped may cause them to conclude as criminals. Most of them tend to drop out of schools and susceptible to negative influence as a result of problem they facing.

Overcoming the Weaknesses

Research by LearningRX(2006) claim that weakened cognitive skills will be the cause of learning disabilities such as dyslexia and gradual learning. Important skills such as concentration, perception, stories and reasonable thinking are not as effective as other normal people which make reading, writing, and considering more challenging. However, this weakness can be better through specific training and testing. Mel Levine (2008) make clear that how Kitty Hawk Elementary University in NEW YORK America experienced implied School Attuned Program using the Neurodevelopmental Profiles where all students with different cognitive skills can learn. Lisa Galleli, a educator at Kitty Hawk represents her management plan for one particular students as "He had significant graphomotor weaknesses with spelling and writing. But he really shined in his social skills and this made all the difference on the planet. He was also good at math and problem handling. We use his durability who keep him encouraged with success while tackling his writing problem. " The result had proved that it is not impossible to overcome the weakness.

Neurodevelopmental Account is investigated and synthesized by Mel Levine and his colleagues consist of 8 constructs that are:

Table 1: 8 constructs of Neurodevelopmental Profiles

Attention

This includes the ability to concentrate, give attention to one thing alternatively than another, finish duties, and control what one says and does

Temporal-sequential ordering

Whether it's being able to recite the alphabet or moving a reply button on Jeopardy, being able to understand the time and collection of bits of information is a key component of learning.

Spatial ordering

The capacity, for instance to tell apart between a circle and square or to use images to remember related information

Memory

Even if people are able to understand, set up, and interpret complicated information at this time, their failure to store and later recall can considerably have an impact on their performance.

Language

Developing dialect functions involves complex interaction between differing of the brain that control such skills as pronouncing words, understanding different noises and comprehending written symbols

Neuromotor functions

The brain's potential to coordinate electric motor or muscle function is paramount to many portion of learning, including writing and keyboarding.

Social cognition

One of the most overlooked the different parts of learning is the ability to succeed in social marriage with peer pressure.

Higher-order cognition

This involve the ability to understand and execute the steps essential to solve problems, assault new areas of learning and think creatively.

By realizing that each human involve some strong functions plus some fragile ones, Mel Levine found that you'll be able to identify each individual's unique mixture of power and weaknesses.

Using the right method in expanding the courseware and the right procedure for the sluggish learners, it isn't impossible that courseware will be definitely help them.

Formative VS Summative Evaluation

In order to gather data for the improvement of the courseware, an analysis have to be done. You will find two methods to be used; formative evaluation and summative analysis.

According to H. L Roberts(2009), formative assessments also called developmental or implementation analysis assess what works and what does not work about a particular activity or job as it is going on. It is employed to assess the worthiness of a task as it is taking location to determine how it can be improved. The technique use within formative evaluation is the same like other diagnosis which include review, interview or data collection. This sort of evaluation depends on qualitative data that is how members felt about the process as well as quantitative data, such as charts or test scores. Formative evaluation typically involves a small group of users and members in the project being evaluated. Members in formative assessments look not merely at the goals of the procedure and whether those goals are achieved but also at the process itself and where that process is an effective one or not. Despite the fact that this type of analysis is quite complex, there are profit in it. It allow early on identification of potential problem in the subject of assessment. Moreover, it can be a good way of gauge the user perception on the subject since it rely on individual feedback.

As for summative analysis, Fox Valley Complex College(2007) express it as process that concerns last evaluation to ask if the task or program attained its goals. It is cumulative in nature. It specializes in learner outcomes rather than only this program of instruction where the aim is to look for the user's mastery and understanding of information, concept, skill or process. Ongoing summative examination signifies important tools for monitoring the improvement across time. There are various method of summative analysis such as demonstration, licensing, internship, portfolio or clinical. Summative evaluation is normally quantitative, using numeric results or letter grades to determine learner achievement. In a way, it enables the learner know "how they have" and "how good they are simply" However, there's more to it. By looking at how the learner's did, it can help to know whether the product shows what it is meant to teach and how useful it is.

Here the courseware will be using formative evaluation method. By using formative evaluation, the current English courseware operation can be assessed to determine whether its attempting to properly or not. . Even if the courseware is working properly, it won't fulfill its goals if an individual (in this case student) don't like it or having problem in utilizing it. Through the use of formative analysis method, user opinions can be documented and region of improvement can be found. In conclusion, formative evaluation method will examine the courseware from two perspectives; the courseware functionality and user feedback. Both will greatly assist in the enhancement procedure for the current courseware.

Methodology

Throw-Away Prototyping

The methodology chosen for the task would be Throw-Away Prototyping. Dummy prototype, which is presentational only will be developed. Thorough examination will be achieved before first dummy prototype is developed to guarantee the prototype have enough details representing real working system. Following that, the dummy prototype will be shown and analyzed with an individual to get opinions and identify additional requirement. The next prototype will be developed until it certainly imagine real working system. When it is ready and all issues are solved, it will be implemented as fully-functional system.

Figure 1: Throw-Away Prototyping

Planning

The planning stage is the crucial one in growing the project. First thing to be considered is the way the task will be developed. For this, the Gantt Graph for the job is build so that every project milestone during the twelve months of the job can be tracked. Besides that, research is made to find suitable tool to be utilized for the introduction of the project. As the task intended to improve the current courseware, research also designed to identify suited test at the mercy of try the existing courseware.

Initial Analysis

During this period, the test situation is developed and interview as well as questionnaire is build to get data from the prospective institution. Data is gathered whenever you can which also include gradual learner syllabus in institution and from there thorough analysis is done. The reason is to identify strengths, weaknesses, area of improvement and what things to be achieved for the development process.

Prototype Building

After all examination has been done, the design of the courseware starts. A sketch is done to have the overview of new courseware to be developed. The sketch will gone through refinement to integrate the content and multimedia elements (animations, movement of information, etc). The details of the design will be saved. After all details completed, the introduction of the prototype initiate. If the dummy prototype is complete with all required features, it will then examined at the institution to find whether it visualize all the issue that should be dealt with. If further refinement is required, the dummy prototype will continuously be build until all requirements is complete.

Implementation

After all requirements had been satisfied and the dummy prototype is absolutely visualizing the courseware, it will be announced to be complete and real working courseware will be applied.

Research Methodologies

To get everything required, two research methodologies will be chosen that are:

Interview: An interview is conducted with the individual teacher of the institution. A test situation will be deployed to the pupil using the current courseware combined with the interview. That is part of formative evaluation that will test the features of the courseware and measure the user about how they use the courseware. The target is to identify the strengths and weaknesses of the existing courseware and find the region of improvement.

Questionnaire: The interview and questionnaire will be done with the respected teacher to get in depth details of how poor learners learn and gain all relevant data which will be reference in growing the new courseware.

Requirement Gathering

Interview

In just how of gathering data necessary for the advancement of the English courseware, an interview is conducted with Pn Khadijah, Planner of Special Education for Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf who's also the English educator for Special Education Department. Using the current courseware created by Mohd Izzat Helmi B Yahya, a test situation is deployed where the goal is to identify the talents and the weaknesses of the courseware so the effect found can be implemented during the development of new British courseware. The test situation will validate the conditions and steps taken in using the courseware test to get the result for further examination.

Three slow learner students from Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf be a part of the test scenario. Below are the details of the three students:

Respondent 1 - A 12 years old son and is finding your way through his UPSR next year. He falls into the group of normal slow learner. His performance in the class is great. He gets the basic skills of using computer which make him in a position to use the sample courseware properly.

Respondent 2 - A 12 years old guy. He comes under the category of slow-moving learner and Syndrom Down. He has the basic skills of using computer which make him in a position to use the sample courseware properly.

Respondent 3 - A 7 years old son. He just started his school early this year. He is the most challenging pupil because he comes under the ICU slow learners category. In addition, he does not have basic skills of using computer which will make the test circumstance more challenging to be performed.

The purpose of choosing these three students is to see how different types of slow learners employ and respond to the courseware. Essentially, all the learner use the courseware in the same way depends upon their knowledge and skills about computer. Below is the synopsis of derive from the test scenario done with all three students.

Table 2: Summation of test Situation Result

No

Simulation Date

Action and Data

Expected Result

Actual Result

1

12 Apr 2010

Launch the courseware interface

Courseware interface show up successfully

2

12 Apr 2010

Launching subject 1

Topic 1 launched successfully

3

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Learn' from subject matter 1 menu

Learning module show up successfully

4

12 Apr 2010

Checking audio tracks for topic one

Audio working successfully

5

12 Apr 2010

Checking synchronization of sound and visual flows.

Audio and visible is synchronized

Flow of sound and aesthetic is too fast

6

12 Apr 2010

Click the button 'Play Again' for matter 1 learning module

Audio and aesthetic replay

7

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Exercise' for matter 1

Exercise launched

successfully

Exercise for Issue 3 about colors appear

8

12 Apr 2010

Performing exercise about numbers

Exercise done successfully

Exercise cannot be performed because exercise for colors appear

9

12 Apr 2010

Click the button 'Play Again' for topic 1 exercise

Exercise can be redo

Exercise look is not for issue 1

10

12 Apr 2010

Launching subject 2

Topic 2 launched successfully

11

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Learn' from theme 2 menu

Learning module look successfully

12

12 Apr 2010

Click and hover on the images of your body parts

Audio and visuals working to identify the images

Audio working only if cursor is hovered on the image. When image clicked, nothing at all happened

13

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Exercise' for subject 2

Exercise launched successfully

14

12 Apr 2010

Drag what into the individual body part

Words dragged successfully

Because there are some input of the exercise not in the learning module of topic 2, university student get perplexed easily

15

12 Apr 2010

Click the button 'Play Again' for issue 1 exercise

Exercise can be redo

16

12 Apr 2010

Launching issue 3

Topic 1 launched successfully

17

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Learn' from topic 3 menu

Learning module seem successfully

18

12 Apr 2010

Click and hover on the images of the color.

Audio and visuals working to summarize the images

Audio appear when the image is clicked. When it is hovered nothing at all happened

19

12 Apr 2010

Launch 'Exercise' for issue 3

Exercise launched

successfully

20

12 Apr 2010

Dragging each color in to the particular jar.

Each color dragged successfully

21

12 Apr 2010

Return to courseware user interface from any point of the courseware

Courseware interface look successfully

Other that that, Pn Khadijah says that, the coaching syllabus and method will vary from the mainstream syllabus. They use preschool syllabus in their learning modules However, if indeed they show good performance the teacher will prepare these to be in nationwide assessment like UPSR. More information about the interview will be described in the next section below.

Questionnaire

In order to get in-depth details of requirements of the courseware to be developed, interviews and questionnaire is conducted with the respective educators of the classes. This is important because not all required data can be had through the test scenario assessment. The instructor answering the questionnaire is Pn Khadijah, Planner of Special Education for Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf. She's many years of experience in instructing poor learners especially in British subject. Pn Khadijah is given the summary of the current British courseware and then she actually is given the questionnaire. Below is the result of questionnaire responded by the professor:

Data Analysis

From the interview and questionnaire conducted with students and professor of Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf, there are several issue should be dealt with about the current British courseware and also what can be improved upon for the courseware to be developed:

Flow of music and visual must be synchronized rather than too fast because slow learners couldn't get up if it's too fast

For unknown reason, exercise for Topic 1 which should cover about quantities is changed with exercise from Theme 3 which is about colours brings about having two exercises about colorings and the absences of exercise about number.

The instruction is different than what can be done in the learning module. For example the instruction of matter 2 says to click on the image to listen to the audio tracks. But instead, the music only look when cursor is hovered on the image. Nothing happened when it is clicked.

Input of the exercise should be the same as what it appears in the training modules to avoid distress for poor learners. For example, the source of the exercise for topic 2 includes the belly part though it is not taught in the training modules.

Input of learning modules shouldn't be more than 5 in a subject because slow-moving learners could easily ignore what they learn if there's way too many input.

Slow learners in Malaysia are familiar with the Malaysia British. Using U. S British or Britain English in the courseware would mistake them.

Students especially kids like learning using computer. Gradual learners aren't excluded. Therefore the courseware to be developed must be aesthetically attractive.

Proposed System Architecture

Figure 2: Proposed System Architecture

The courseware will incorporate use suitable media elements that will support interactive learning environment either for the utilization at institution or at home. This will make the training process could be more engaging and interesting.

The courseware will contain 3 modules generally developed for students of Standard 4 to Standard 6. All of this modules will be developed predicated on learning syllabus for gradual learners from Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf.

After the application form is launched, students will be accessing the courseware user interface. To guarantee the flexibility of the training process, students will be given flexibility to choose which component they would like to use. After each module there will be exercise that will test the student's understand of the current subject matter. However, students are free to choose whether they wish to accomplish the exercise or not. If indeed they don't want to do the exercise, they can proceed to next component or return to the courseware software to choose other modules. In dealing with that gradual learners cannot manage too much input at a time, each component will consist of two parts. This will allow the students to enrich their learning without taking too much source at a time. They have got the liberty to choose which part they would like to used in a module. The three modules are: Amounts, Reading Skills, AREAS OF THE BODY.

Module 1:Numbers

The first module will teach the students the building blocks of recognizing amounts. The first part will educate about how to recognize ordinal and cardinal amounts and what's the difference about them. The next part will instruct the scholar how to distinguish between odd amounts and even numbers using the same modules in current British courseware with augmentation made onto it.

Module 2:Reading Skills

This module is intended to improve the reading skills of the students. . The activity in the first part will be concentrate on matching picture. Each time a picture from two units of pictures will be shown to the scholar and following that the students will be asked to match the picture with the picture from the place which is not shown. The next part will give attention to matching letter and words. The idea will be the same like in the first part.

Module 3:Body Parts

This module will show the student the foundation of identifying body parts. The first part will educate the college student about main body parts in general. The second part will instruct the pupil specifically about parts on head

The tools chosen for the introduction of the job will be Gamemaker 8. The reason to utilize this tool is because it is not hard to be used compared to almost all of other tools. It allow the user to work with collection of freeware images and music for starters like the author to make a game looking courseware that will encompass on drag-and-drop action using the mouse. This tool will be used along with other tools like Adobe Photoshop CS3 and Macromedia Adobe flash where necessary to make the courseware more interactive and wealthy.

Conclusion

Current English courseware is using basic idea of combining audio tracks with visible in the teaching. Even though, it is still not perfect. There is a lot of area for improvement can be produced for the courseware. The author's job will take the possibility to make improvement on the courseware to increase its potential. The brand new courseware to be developed could be more interactive and wealthy while in the same time responding to the issue of current courseware. With assistance from various parties including the author's supervisor, Pass up Elaine, instructors of Sekolah Kebangsan Sultan Yusuf as well as other people, this project will succeed.

Acknowledgement

The current courseware described in this newspaper is developed by Mohd Izzat helmi B Yahya where his work had been bottom for the author's British courseware developed for poor learners. Here the writer also would like to give thanks to Ms. Elaine Chen Yoke Yie as the supervisor for the project, Pn Khadijah, Coordinator of Special Education for Sekolah Kebangsaan Sultan Yusuf, and all the parties who got contribute to the task whether immediately or indirectly.

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