A game based learning approach to enrich the special education in Sri Lanka

Nadira Tharanga Perera, Induni Shamika Wijerathne, Manori Madubhashini Wijesooriya, Anuja Dharmarathne, Ruwan Weerasinghe

Abstract


In this fast moving world, it is a failure to provide equal access to information and knowledge for everybody. One of the reasons behind this is that there is a specific group of people who have inability to engage in learning in a regular manner because of some physical, mental or psychological disabilities. That group of students with special educational needs requires individual attention and special assistance from parents and teachers in their learning process. They might be beneficial from some special learning techniques provided as learning aids rather than from conventional learning methods. Since Information and Communication Technology (ICT) based learning is a novel approach which integrates learning with computing aspects, this research is intended to explore the relevancy of ICT based education for enhancing the learning effectiveness of students with special needs.
In order to achieve that objective some computer games and activities were developed considering both functional and non-functional requirements which are gathered through discussions had with doctors and teachers in the field of special education. These games are basically focusing on basic concepts of three subject areas as color, number and language in mother tongue.
For the performance evaluation, two tests were carried out as ‘pre test’ and ‘post test’ by giving developed games for a sample of students. Number of levels completed by a particular student, time taken and number of mistakes s/he has made during the game were measured throughout the user evaluation phase. According to the obtained results, the performance improvement rates of sample students for color skills, number skills and language skills are approximately 48%, 63% and 60% respectively. Therefore, it has been proven that ICT can be used as a driving tool for special education to improve its effectiveness.

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