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Online education has been prevalent for years, but with the spread of the Covid-19, it became the most viable option for students all over the world. Out of these students, an estimated 15-20% of them show signs of what the Fifth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes as Specific Learning Disorder (SLD). Students with SLD experience difficulties with learning and using academic skills such as reading, writing, and mathematics. These difficulties are independent of intelligence. Over the past two decades, SLD has also been referred to as dyslexia or a learning disability. While adapting to online instruction could prove difficult for students with SLD, it is also an opportunity to provide them with a more individualized and flexible education. Research about online learning and SLD from before the pandemic led to the identification of best practices for instructing students with SLD during, and possibly after, the pandemic. A comprehensive literature review was conducted to determine whether making accommodations such as asynchronous learning materials, multimedia instruction, and text reading affordances available would lead to an online learning environment that would be advantageous for students with SLD. Research indicates that asynchronous learning, multimedia instruction, and text reading affordances can lead to be better learning for students with SLD. Asynchronous learning materials are materials, such as video recordings of lectures, that students can access outside of designated class times. Multimedia instruction involves presenting information in multiple formats such as images and audio, as opposed to solely text-based learning. Affordances such as adhering to certain recommended fonts and styles of writing can also make text more accessible to students with SLD. None of these supplements to instruction have proved universally helpful to students with SLD. Therefore, it is best to let the students to decide which accommodations are useful and when. Online learning presents a unique opportunity to make these accommodations available and allow students to pick and choose which of these accommodations best assist them.

Symposium Date

Fall 12-1-2012


dyslexia, online learning and distance education


Education | Psychology

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License

Best Practices to Make Online Learning an Advantageous Tool for Students with Specific Learning Disorder