Low-literates’ support needs for societal participation learning: Empirical grounding of theory- and model-based design

Dylan Schouten, Rosie Paulissen, Marieke Hanekamp, Annemarie Groot, Mark Neerincx, AHM Cremers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Specialized learning support software can address the low societal participation of low-literate Dutch citizens. We use the situated Cognitive Engineering method to iteratively create a design specification for the envisioned system VESSEL: a Virtual Environment to Support the Societal participation Education of Low-literates. An initial high-level specification for this system is refined by incorporating the societal participation experiences of low-literate citizens into the design. In two series of user studies, the participant workshop and cultural probe methods were used with 23 low-literate participants. The Grounded Theory method was used to process the rich user data from these studies into the Societal Participation Experience of Low-Literates (SPELL) model. Using this experience model, the existing VESSEL specification was refined: requirements were empirically situated in the daily practice of low-literate societal participation, and new claims were written to explicate the learning effectiveness of the proposed VESSEL system. In conclusion, this study provides a comprehensive, theoretically and empirically grounded set of requirements and claims for the proposed VESSEL system, as well as the underlying SPELL model, which captures the societal participation experiences of low-literates citizens. The research methods used in this study are shown to be effective for requirements engineering with low-literate users.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)30-47
Number of pages18
JournalCognitive Systems Research (Online)
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Societal participation
  • Low-literacy
  • Virtual learning environment
  • Situated Cognitive Engineering
  • Requirements engineering
  • Qualitative methods


Dive into the research topics of 'Low-literates’ support needs for societal participation learning: Empirical grounding of theory- and model-based design'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this