What if ‘eye’ find it too difficult? English L2 users’ response to text simplification

Rets, Irina (2020). What if ‘eye’ find it too difficult? English L2 users’ response to text simplification. In: SIG27: Sharpening the facets of online measures: Research at the cutting edge, 14 Dec - 16 Dec 2020, [Online].

Abstract

Open Educational Resources (OER) aim to provide equal access to education. Yet, as the language level used in OER presents a barrier to many learners, there is a need to make these resources more comprehensible. This study combined eye-tracking methodology and comprehension assessment to explore the effect of text simplification on English second language (L2) users, while also accounting for text organisational structure, and individual predispositions. A total of 37 adult English L2 users took part in the study. They had to read either an authentic narrative, authentic expository OER, or their linguistically simplified versions. The analysis showed that simplification led to better text comprehension, and text narrativity facilitated text recall, particularly at lower English proficiency levels. Eye-tracking measures revealed that text simplification led to an increase in processing time during the initial reading of the text and a decrease in processing time during text re-inspection. These findings have strong practical applications for online teaching with OER.

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