I’ve been quite selective with my CPD activities this year. One of my goals has been to develop content that is more accessible. Earlier this year I read a paper about Dyslexia and after doing some research decided to undertake a short course on the Fundamentals of Dyslexia Awareness by the British Dylexia Association.
What was the course about?
The course provides an overview of dyslexia. It outlines the terminology, how it is assessed and identified, some history and an interesting section on how a dyslexic brain works.
The course is delivered online in a Moodle VLE. It is asynchronous and self-paced. The course is divided up into topic areas and there are 6 to complete (there are actually 7, but the 7th topic is a conclusion so I don’t believe this really counts!) There is a multiple-choice assessment, or “Brain Teaser” at the end of each topic. You must pass each assessment in order to obtain the certificate of completion. The price of the course is £120.
I learnt that in the UK, dyslexia is a specific learning difficulty (SpLD) and that there is a difference between SpLD’s and learning disabilities. I always assumed it was a learning disability. I also learned how to describe an individual who has dyslexia (which is exactly that!), people do not “suffer” with dyslexia. Dyslexia is neurobiological and the content that described a dyslexia brain vs a non-dyslexia brain was really fascinating. There was also a section on legislation, which I found a bit repetitive. It didn’t really get into the specifics of dyslexia, it was more of a overview of the Equality Act.
Pros and Cons
The content has been broken down into manageable chunks and is well structured. The Moodle VLE is quite basic, but is really easy to use and navigate. The content consisted of reading tasks and the occasional chart. There was also a couple of links to 3rd party YouTube videos, one of which I’ve shared below. I found this particularly informative!
Throughout the course there were some “Think Points” where you could stop and reflect, but these were quite basic – even if you did complete them there is no way to know if you’d approached it correctly as they weren’t assessed. I’d say that the “Brain Teaser” quizzes meet a bloom level of 1, as they are really only assessing a learners ability to remember the answer to basic facts. I probably could have completed the course in a day if I’d sat there and whizzed through it all. I decided to take the sensible approach and complete a couple of topics each week, so finished the course in roughly 3 weeks.
I know this review might seem a bit harsh, the content was informative, but really dry. Some of the content would have made really nice infographics, animations and activities. I found myself designing some of these in my head as I went along. It almost distracted me from the actual content, I kept thinking “hmm this would make a really good infographic!”
The BDA is a charity and the course did only cost £120, but overall I feel as though I would have learnt the same from a good book. It’s nice to have a certificate though.
This was an awareness course, so it really only covers the basics. What I would like to learn next is how to better support dyslexic individuals when creating digital content.