Comparing Multimedia-Based Approaches to Academic Vocabulary Instruction for Middle Schoolers with LD

McDonald, Sean, Education - School of Education and Human Development, University of Virginia
Kennedy, Michael, ED-CISE, University of Virginia

With complex forms of written and oral discourse in secondary classrooms, middle schoolers with learning disabilities (LD) must be able to acquire deep understanding of academic words with multiple senses of meaning (e.g., foundation of a house compared to foundation of a scientific theory). Although multimedia instructional approaches are emerging as promising options for improving word-learning for students with LD, there is a dearth of empirical guidance for supporting their deep knowledge of these types of words. This pilot study examines the initial efficacy of a multimedia-based vocabulary intervention called MultiVision (MV) designed to foster deep understandings of academic vocabulary with multiple senses for adolescent students with LD. This adapted alternating-treatments design study evaluates the effects of MV on custom measures of word knowledge depth for three middle schoolers with LD, relative to an established multimedia instructional approach (i.e., CAP-S) and to a baseline condition with no instruction. Results showed that both MV and CAP-S supported word-learning gains across participants relative to the baseline condition. Further, MV demonstrated a relative advantage in word-learning performance over CAP-S for one out of three students. However, for the other two students, MV demonstrated varied effects. Additionally, two out of three students maintained word-learning gains from both treatments, but degrees of retention varied across students. Finally, students agreed both treatments were beneficial for their word-learning. Overall findings from this study suggest that MV shows some promise for fostering deep word knowledge of academic vocabulary with multiple senses for middle schoolers with LD. However, more research is needed to further establish treatment efficacy. Implications and future research are discussed.

PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
learning disabilities, academic vocabulary, multimedia, middle school
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