Lexercise: a blended-learning support system for clinics and schools



"Blended learning" combines traditional face-to-face teaching and learning methods with computer-mediated methods.  Blended learning methods and tools are a perfect match for structured literacy/ O-G approaches because daily practice is an important element in implementation.  Here is how Lexercise empowers blended learning:  


1.  FACE-TO-FACE SESSIONS FOR EXPLICIT INSTRUCTION-  The clinician meets with a student for a face-to-face, direct instruction session. The clinician selects relevant materials for the student from Lexercise's online library of materials and shares them with the student, in a office, school or in a videoconference (teletherapy).

  • The main goal of the face-to-face session is explicit instruction and initial practice of specific language concept(s) and/or specific instructional routine(s).    Most clinicians use the Lexercise Scope and Sequence but if a facility want to use a different scope and sequence this can be arranged for a fee and with the written permission of the publisher.
  • The face-to-face sessions can be scheduled with a frequency and duration that meets the program's needs but workable minimum frequency of face-to-face sessions is once a week. The duration for face-to-face sessions will usually 45 minutes but it can be adjusted to meet the program's needs. (e.g. an after school tutoring program or a summer program). Note that the objective of the face-to-face sessions is initial instruction of target concepts at each level -- as opposed to for practicing the application of the concepts- and a once-a-week pace for instructing (or re-instructing) a small set of concepts works well---assuming there is daily practice in what has been introduced.

 2. ON-LINE PRACTICE  - After the face-to-face session the clinician uses the Lexercise online learning management system to customize a Practice Plan for the student using online games.

  •  The main goal of the online practice is review and reinforcement for concepts and patterns covered in the face-to-face session. Daily review and reinforcement is important for establishing automatic and fluent reading and writing skills. In online games, the number of potential response challenges (opportunities for practice) can surpass 100 or more a day--many more than in most clinician delivered practice sessions.
  • The student plays the online games once a day, at least five days a week, for approximately 15 minutes. (The clinician sets the length of the games, so that is flexible, too.)  The only technology the student needs for playing the games is a high speed internet connection, a computer or tablet with Adobe Flash software and headphones with ear cups.  Sometimes students play their games at home. Other times the games may be scheduled during a class period at school day, in a learning center or in an after-school program.)

3. OFF-LINE PRACTICE - After a face-to-face session, the clinician can send the following activities with materials (customized by Lexercise Level)  to a parent, teacher or teacher aide.



4. DAILY DATA SUPPORT INDIVIDUALIZED INSTRUCTION- The clinician gets web-based reports of the student's accuracy and uses them to decide on how to structure the student's next face-to-face session. The parent and/or teacher can ALSO get dailyerror reports by email and the clinician can train them how to do use this information in brief conversations or in mini table-top lessons.  For example:

  •  Accuracy with the Isolator Game (i.e., phonemic processing) is essential for decoding & spelling. Likewise, understanding phoneme-grapheme word structure supports and builds phonemic awareness and memory. So, using the child's Isolator error words in face-to-face White Board Spelling routines build phonemic awareness and memory, as well as improving letter formation and spelling.
  •  The MatchStar Games tax working memory so are especially difficult for children with working memory deficits. This game format has been shown to improve working memory and attention, so they make excellent for review and reinforcement word word reading. Especially for children with working memory deficits, clinicians may want to  consider the student's performance in face-to-face Flash Word Reading as well as his/her performance in MatchStar Games as an indications of mastery.
  •  Descriptor Game requires understanding spoken, formal definitions and fairly fast word reading (as the word choices fall from top to bottom). Practicing  face-to-face Descriptor provides opportunities to scaffold the student's emerging skills in processing formal definitions and in rapid, single word reading.

The goal in blended learning is for humans (teachers, clinicians, parents) to do what they are best at (e.g., providing explicit instruction, emotional support and motivation, evaluating progress, adjusting practice plans, discussing, connecting and expanding learning possibilities) and computer to do what it is best at (e.g., intensive, structured practice and data tracking).  It can be a powerful combination!


WHO CAN ADMINISTER LEXERCISE?  Qualified clinicians (educational therapists, psychologists and speech-language pathologists) can use Lexercise to provide research-backed therapy to their clients. Using Lexercise requires clinical expertise (e.g., knowledge and skills in the use of individually administered assessments and therapeutic approaches) so Lexercise clinicians are required to demonstrate their knowledge by passing the Lexercise Qualification Exam.
Clinicians who are not trained in a structured literacy (aka Orton-Gillingham) approach but would like to be trained can take our online courses and pass the exam(s).
For more information about the knowledge and skills required to use a structured literacy (aka Orton-Gillingham) approach see Getting started with Lexercise and an Orton-Gillingham Approach.
Also see the International Dyslexia Association's Knowledge and Practice Standards for Teachers of Reading and Spelling.


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