Can a smartphone game app, in which players discover a Viking world through language, help children who experience difficulties in learning to read?
Scientists with the lab worked with a charity to develop the adventure game for mobiles as it serves as a digital treatment programme for younger people with dyslexia.
Called Asgaard Saga and featuring engaging colourful and cartoonish graphics, children get to take control of a Viking character of their choosing to explore the virtual map.
They complete tasks by taking part in a mini-games involving phonology, reading, spelling, psychoeducation, and goals and motivation, that are set as homework by their therapist.
The way the game unfolds, encourages the young players to motivate themselves to practice every day for a limited period in order to build their skills and confidence with spelling and reading.
Parents, the child and the therapists can consult an online dashboard to monitor progress.
Assessing the effectiveness of the product lies at the core of a study being conducted by PhD candidate Jorna Serrarens under the supervison of Prof Eliane Segers and
Prof Harold Bekkering.
Asgaard Saga has been developed with Berkel-B, a dyslexia care, treatment and research practice serving Overijssel and Gelderland, and Hulan, a game and app development studio based in Waalre, Noord-Brabant.
It counts on support and input of several city councils and primary schools, such as Stichting Conexus, an educational foundation running 31 primary and special schools in the Nijmegen and Heumen council areas.