(from 6 to 10 years old)
A multidimensional electronic tool will be designed for diagnosis of cognitive processes and the preferred learning style of children in pre-school / junior school age – aged 6 to 10 years old. Cognitive processes are associated with memory, thinking, attention and perception, and are conditioned by the sense organs and the central neural system. They are strictly associated with reception, storage and processing of information. It means that the cognitive abilities enable to learn new skills and gain knowledge as well as communicate with environment. Their accurate diagnosis would allow to tailor teaching methodology and to develop the child support program in education.
The learning style is defined as the individual preference in learning process. Literature lists many concepts about learning styles. The project has adopted the following concepts as the theoretical basis for the tool of VARK model, developed by Fleming. In the VARK model, students are classified into four pupil types: visual, reading, auditory and kinesthetic.
The proposed tool will allow for a reliable and free diagnosis of cognitive processes and learning styles, without specialist involvement (psychologist, educator). Diagnosis with an innovative tool will be easily available via Internet without any physical barriers. The tool eliminates the barriers related to universal access of children and young people to specialists who carry out the diagnosis. The test would be accessible online via computer, laptop or smartphone, thus constituting a handy tool for those who otherwise could not benefit from professional services. In addition, the automatically generated report gives children, parents and teachers extensive knowledge about the specificity of cognitive processes and learning styles along with proposed guidelines on how to work with a child. It will allow a pupil to function more effectively in education process as it will speed up the learning process, help to overcome school failures and it will positively impact on self-esteem and self-efficacy of children and young people. The proposed tool would support students with special educational needs to fulfil the educational obligations, not to drop out of the educational system, which could result in social exclusion.
Due to the young age of pupils (recipients of the electronic diagnostic tool) and their cognitive abilities to take part in the diagnosis (self-assessment) of their own cognitive function, the test will be completed by parents or teachers based on observation and good knowledge of a child. The test will be in the form of a checklist, and its development will be carried out in a psychometric approach, commonly used in psychology, with observance of all methodological and statistical assumptions.
The tool will automatically generate individual feedback on the subject of the dominant learning style and cognitive abilities of a child (eg. attention focus, short-term memory, long-term memory, spatial imagination, creativity, analysis and synthesis, perceptiveness, etc.). Based on the diagnosis results, the generated report will contain a number of hints for a pupil (how to learn effectively) and for parents and teachers (how to teach the child effectively and support him in development).The tool will be accompanied by a manual containing a description of the construction procedure, its psychometric properties and practical tips on how to use the test and its results.
All project outcomes have potential for transfer and exploitation in other European countries.