Assessment of Readability and Learning of Easy-to-Read Educational Health Materials Designed and Written with the Help of Citizens by Means of Two Non-Alternative Methods

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Abstract

Objectives

We compared two non-alternative methods to assess the readability and learning of easy-to-read educational health materials co-written by physicians, educators and citizens.

Methods

Data from seven easy-to-read materials were analyzed. Readability formulae, and ad hoc data on readability and learning were also computed.

Results

The respondents had a mean age of 48.5 ± 8.3 (SD) years (range 31–57 years). More than two thirds of them were females. About half of the participants had a ‘secondary’ education or more. According to the readability scores – 54 on average – the booklets resulted to be “easy” for a reader who had received a ‘secondary education’ or more. Of the 747 participants, 70% of them found the booklet's language to be ‘easy’ or ‘very easy’ and 28% ‘sufficiently easy’ for laypersons to understand. About 98% of the readers found the booklets useful. After reading the booklet 92% (simple knowledge rate) of the readers answered the cognitive items correctly. The after-minus-before net increase in knowledge was 24 ± 16% and ranged from 8 to 40% (cognitive or knowledge delta).

Conclusions

The availability of readability scores is complementary and it does not replace the need to assess readability and learning by means of structured and tailored questionnaires.

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