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To simplify or not?: Facilitating English L2 users' comprehension and processing of open educational resources in English using text simplification

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>30/06/2021
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Computer Assisted Learning
Issue number3
Volume37
Number of pages13
Pages (from-to)705-717
Publication StatusPublished
Early online date28/12/20
<mark>Original language</mark>English

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 organizational 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