A review of dyslexia online learning modules

A review of dyslexia online learning modules

First Author: Alida Anderson -- American University, Washington DC, USA
Additional authors/chairs: 
Gabrielle Sarlo; Hannah Pearlstein; Lauren McGrath
Keywords: Dyslexia, Teacher training, educational neuroscience, Neuromyths, Scientific literacy
Abstract / Summary: 

Purpose: This review investigated whether scientific information on dyslexia is publicly available to address the myth that dyslexia is caused by backwards reading. This long-held misconception persists in education (e.g., Moats, 1994; Washburn, Binks-Cantrell, & Joshi, 2014), and is endorsed at alarmingly high rates (MacDonald et al., 2017). This myth is further perpetuated by the fact that higher education instructors hold the same misconceptions as educators and the general public (Betts et al., in press).

Research Questions:
1. What are the characteristics of online dyslexia learning modules?
2. To what extent does the content of online dyslexia learning modules address the dyslexia myth?

Method: Keyword search strategies using Google yielded over 553,000 results. Results were limited to the first 100 hits, from which 14 modules were identified for coding and analysis. Each module met inclusion criteria of public availability (open-access), interactivity, and credibility. Modules were coded for content areas and key characteristics.

Results: Of the 14 publicly available dyslexia online learning modules, none directly addressed the backwards reading myth. The modules addressed education, neuroscience, and policy-related topics. Presentation format, feedback/interactivity, duration, and scientific content varied significantly across modules and were identified as key determinants of access and availability.

Conclusions: Current dyslexia learning modules are not directly addressing the myth of backwards reading. Moreover, content is too long, not interactive, text heavy, and does not provide scientific explanations of brain-behavior relationships involved in reading. Results highlight the need for accessible and interactive learning modules that target misconceptions about the brain and reading.