Extracting the story behind the CIELL essays : Inclusive visual design of the webtoons in the CIELL mobile app

Sime, Julie-Ann and Tsampra, Eleni (2022) Extracting the story behind the CIELL essays : Inclusive visual design of the webtoons in the CIELL mobile app. Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning, 2 (1).

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Visual narratives, such as found in comics and picture books, are often seen as easy to understand as their visual language is familiar to many from a young age, however, recent neuroscience research suggests it is complex. This paper discusses the main challenges in the visual design of the award-winning ‘Comics for Inclusive English Language Learning’ (CIELL) mobile application (app) that supports the needs of learners with dyslexia in the additional language class. The innovative teaching approach embodied in the app promotes literacy through webtoons (mobile comics) and has been designed to be dyslexia-friendly and inclusive. Around 10% UK population have dyslexia and other specific learning differences, however these students are greatly underrepresented in higher education and this is a worldwide issue of social justice. Language qualifications such as IELTS are key to accessing English-medium universities worldwide and so can be a major barrier. In addition, there is increasing pressure on language teachers to provide digital support for students. A narrative account from the visual designer explores the two principal challenges of the visual design, illustrated with webtoons from the app. First, some forms of essay writing are not typical stories and lack characters and key structural elements such as a climax, so characters had to be invented. Secondly, the visuals need to reinforce the memorisation processes of learners with dyslexia, so metaphors were used. However, this is not simply a process of translation or literal illustration as the visuals add another layer of meaning to the stories and therefore needs to be taken into account within the overall design. This educational approach shows how visual narratives in webtoons can create an inclusive, dyslexia-friendly mobile app for teaching and learning of English as an additional language. While this is only one example, it contributes insight into the theoretical and practical challenges of the visual design and may inspire further research in this under-researched area.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Studies in Technology Enhanced Learning
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? comicswebtoonvisual metaphordyslexiainclusionmobile learningsdg 3 - good health and well-beingsdg 4 - quality educationsdg 10 - reduced inequalities ??
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Deposited On:
28 Jul 2022 15:35
Last Modified:
30 Jun 2024 23:39