Developing Adaptive Serious Games for the Training of Children with Specific Learning Difficulties: A Two-Phase Usability and Technology Acceptance Study with Children and their Educators

Yildirim, Oguzcan
Sürer, Elif
Background: Specific learning difficulties (SpLD) include several disorders such as dyslexia, dyscalculia, and dysgraphia, and the children with these SpLD receive special education. However, the studies and the educational material so far focus mainly on one specific disorder. Objective: This study’s primary goal is to develop comprehensive training material for different types of SpLD, with five serious games addressing different aspects of the SpLD. The second focus is measuring the impact of adaptive difficulty level adjustment in the children’s and their educators’ usability and technology acceptance perception. Receiving feedback from the children and their educators, and refining the games according to their suggestions have also been essential in this two-phase study. Methods: A total of 10 SpLD educators and 23 children with different types of SpLD tested the prototypes of the five serious games (ie, Word game, Memory game, Category game, Space game, and Math game), gave detailed feedback, answered the System Usability Scale and Technology Acceptance Model (TAM) questionnaires, and applied think-aloud protocols during game play. Results: The games’ standard and adaptive versions were analyzed in terms of average playtime and the number of false answers. Detailed analyses of the interviews, with word clouds and player performances, were also provided. The TAM questionnaires’ average and mean values and box plots of each data acquisition session for the children and the educators were also reported via System Usability Scale and TAM questionnaires. The TAM results of the educators had an average of 8.41 (SD 0.87) out of 10 in the first interview and an average of 8.71 (SD 0.64) out of 10 in the second interview. The children had an average of 9.07 (SD 0.56) out of 10 in the first interview. Conclusions: Both the educators and the children with SpLD enjoyed playing the games, gave positive feedback, and suggested new ways for improvement. The results showed that these games provide thorough training material for different types of SpLD with personalized and tailored difficulty systems. The final version of the proposed games will become a part of the special education centers’ supplementary curriculum and training materials, making new enhancements and improvements possible in the future.


Developing bodily movement games to teach basic life skills for children with mental disabilities
Nazirzadeh, Mohammad Javad; Çağıltay, Kürşat; Department of Modeling and Simulation (2015)
Students with mental disabilities often have trouble generalizing concepts and skills from one setting to another. An alternative way to teach generalization is to teach students solve problems pertinent to their daily lives and to reinforce behaviors that would occur in the natural environment. In this thesis, we propose a system to augment the environment for mentally disabled students in order to easily cope with life skills by game and fun. The games were developed for motion sensing input devices by fo...
Examining effects of a technology-enhanced extracurriculum on special education students with intellectual disability
Doğan, Sibel; Kaplan Akıllı, Göknur; Department of Computer Education and Instructional Technology (2015)
This study aims to find out how a technology-enhanced extra curriculum affects students with intellectual disability in terms of cognitive and physical development; along with teachers’ perceptions. The participants of the study were 58 students with intellectual disability, who were attending “Ankara Sait Ulusoy Özel Eğitim ve Uygulama Merkezi.” These 58 special education students were invited to Computer Education and Instructional Technology (CEIT) Department in Middle East Technical University (METU) fo...
Evaluation of a tangible mobile application for students with specific learning disabilities
Polat, Elif; Çağıltay, Kürşat; AYKUT, ÇIĞIL; KARASU, NECDET (Informa UK Limited, 2019-01-02)
Students with specific learning disabilities (SLD) typically do not perform at the expected levels of academic achievement. Tangible mobile applications are learning devices that allow for physical engagement and multisensory interaction. They present as promising tools to facilitate learning for students with SLD. This study explored the use of a tangible mobile application for assisting three seventh-grade Turkish students with SLD to learn scientific principles regarding cell concepts. A multiple-probede...
Engaging preservice EFL teachers in self evaluation and peer evaluation for reflection
Gümüşok, Fatma; Çopur, Deniz (null; 2015-05-26)
In this study, 27 pre-service EFL teachers were involved in written self-evaluation and peer-evaluation processes as a reflective practice in the first practicum course. At the end of the course, 10 of them were interviewed to gain their insights about these processes. The results show that they gain awareness on their teaching, increase self-confidence, obtain multiple and critical perspectives.
Investigatingthe views of Montessori preschool teachers on inclusive education in Montessori approach
Ak, İdil Seda; Erden, Feyza; Department of Early Childhood Education (2019)
The purpose of the study was to investigatethe views of Montessori preschool teachers on inclusive education in Montessori approach. The views of 18 participants wereexamined in thisstudy. All participants wereselected from Ankara and İstanbul and they wereinvestigated by a semi-structured interview protocol thatwas developed by the researcherbased on the literature review.The protocol containedquestions in three major parts; these were demographic questions about participants, ...
Citation Formats
O. Yildirim and E. Sürer, “Developing Adaptive Serious Games for the Training of Children with Specific Learning Difficulties: A Two-Phase Usability and Technology Acceptance Study with Children and their Educators,” JMIR SERIOUS GAMES, pp. 1–30, 2021, Accessed: 00, 2021. [Online]. Available: