A tale of two studies: challenges in field research with low-literacy adult learners in a developed country

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DOIResolve DOI: http://doi.org/10.1145/2212776.2212825
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Proceedings titleCHI 2012: Proceedings of the 2012 ACM annual conference extended abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems
ConferenceThe 2012 ACM SIGCHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems (CHI 2012), Austin, Texas, May 5-10, 2012
Pages489504; # of pages: 16
SubjectUser studies; evaluation methodology; mobile computing; interface design; educational interfaces; mobile learning; assistive technology
AbstractEfforts to address the problems of literacy are often focused on developing countries. However, functional illiteracy is a challenge encountered by up to 50 percent of adults in developed countries. In this paper we reflect on the challenges we faced in trying to design and study the use of a mobile application to support adult literacy with two user groups: adults enrolled in literacy classes and carpenters without a high school education enrolled in an essential skills program. We also elaborate on aspects of the evaluations that are specific to a marginalized, functionally illiterate, group in a developed country – aspects that are less frequently present in similar studies of mobile literacy support technologies in developing countries. We conclude with presenting the lessons learnt from our evaluations and the impact of the studies' specific challenges on the outcome and uptake of such mobile assistive technologies in providing practical support to low-literacy adults in conjunction with literacy and essential skills training.
Publication date
AffiliationNational Research Council Canada
Peer reviewedYes
NPARC number20255957
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Record identifierd96f1ee3-f11d-4915-b932-1fa786547efc
Record created2012-07-07
Record modified2016-05-09
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