Using a voice synthesizer to increase reading comprehension levels of learning disabled adults:implications for training
Research efforts to determine the needs of special populations has increased in the field of human factors. The majority of these efforts are focused on the physically disabled. Little attention has been paid to the learning disabled, and specifically, the learning disabled adult. A single factor between subject design was utilized to evaluate the effectiveness of using a voice synthesizer to increase reading comprehension levels of learning disabled adults. The independent variable was presentation mode. The Passage Comprehension subtest of the Woodcock Reading Mastery Tests-Revised was presented via the computer. Subjects were required to complete the test under one of two conditions: with voice feedback or without voice feedback. Dependent measures included total correct answers and reaction time. Also, using a seven-point Likert scale, subjective data regarding various aspects of the voice synthesizer was collected. The Passage Comprehension subtest of the Woodcock-Johnson Psycho-Educational Battery-Revised was also administered to each subject by the experimenter. Comparisons of total scores were then made between the different administration formats. Analysis of the data was conducted using ANOVAs and t-tests. Results indicated no significant differences. Such results were attributed to the small sample size, the subject's potential familiarity with the type of test administered, and compensation skills already developed and maintained by the learning disabled subject. It was concluded that additional research was needed in order to understand the effects of using a voice synthesizer to increase reading comprehension levels and in adapting training programs in industry for the learning disabled.