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Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 16, Issue 3, pp 681–698

First Online: 08 November 2016


People of low literacy experience difficulties while participating in society. Learning support software could help alleviate these difficulties. However, there is currently no overview of theoretically and empirically sound requirements for this kind of support. This paper uses the situated cognitive engineering method to create a requirements baseline for a virtual environment to support the societal participation education of low-literates VESSEL, based on an analysis of the domain, human factors, and current applications. Four major outcomes are presented. First, a comprehensive overview is collected of the operational demands and human factors knowledge relevant to societal participation learning for low-literate citizens. Second, this overview is translated into a list of eight functional requirements: focused on low-literate learners, set in the context of societal participation, and supported by claims of cognitive, affective, and social benefits to learning. Third, a sample of Dutch societal participation learning support programs is assessed using these requirements, to highlight both current technology best practices and discrepancies between theory and practice. Fourth, virtual learning environment technology is suggested as an ‘enabling’ technology; an overview is shown of how virtual environments, actors, and objects can beneficially enable meeting the requirements baseline. Finally, directions for future study are discussed.

KeywordsSocietal participation Low literacy Virtual learning environment Situated cognitive engineering  Download fulltext PDF

Autor: Dylan G. M. Schouten - Nanja J. J. M. Smets - Marianne Driessen - Knup Fuhri - Mark A. Neerincx - Anita H. M. Cremer


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