Reading and Writing

, Volume 32, Issue 9, pp 2149–2178 | Cite as

Improving Hindi decoding skills via a mobile game

  • Adeetee BhideEmail author
  • Wencan Luo
  • Nivita Vijay
  • Charles Perfetti
  • Jingtao Wang
  • Adrian Maries
  • Sonali Nag


Previous research with alphasyllabaries has shown that children struggle with akshara that have two or more consonants, known as complex akshara. We developed a mobile game that teaches 4th grade children Hindi decoding skills, with an emphasis on complex akshara. All of the children were second language learners of Hindi. There were two versions of the game that varied in terms of stimuli spacing (massed and distributed). We found that the game improved participants’ akshara recognition and their ability to read and spell words that contain complex akshara. There is also evidence of learning in the online data; participants were able to more quickly arrive at the correct answers as the game progressed. Both versions of the game yielded equivalent levels of improvement, but participants played the massed version faster. The spacing results are interpreted using the desirable difficulties framework. Overall, the results suggest that mobile technology can effectively improve akshara knowledge.


Hindi Alphasyllabary Akshara Spacing Desirable difficulties Mobile technology Educational games Reading Spelling 



This research partially fulfills the dissertation requirements for AB. We would like to thank AB’s committee members, Natasha Tokowicz, Julie Fiez, and Marta Ortega‐Llebaria for their assistance. Moreover, we would like to thank Kimberly Muth for assistance with IRB protocols. We would also like to thank Sajma Aravind, Abhineeta Raghunath, and the other members of the Promise Foundation for their help with data collection. Nora Kazour and Tara Nair assisted with data coding. Scott Fraundorf helped with the statistical analyses and Carrie Epp assisted with the game data analyses. We would also like to thank Rajeev Bhide and Vijay, Vrunda, Mihir, and Manasi Gadgil for housing AB while she was in India. Finally, we would like to thank the students and staff at Baldwin Girls School for allowing us to collect our data there. This research was supported by NSF PSLC [grant SBE08‐36012] and the Andrew Mellon Predoctoral Fellowship awarded to AB.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.The Promise FoundationBangaloreIndia

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