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Tess Bal

Research Assistant

Donders Centre for Cognition

For the past 3 years I have been working as a research assistant for Harold Bekkering, writer of the book De Lerende Mens. He founded the start-up company with the same name De lerende Mens, which does research in collaboration with the Radboud university. The company focusses on developing educational tools that are based on scientific knowledge as their background. I have worked in multiple spin-off projects, which started out focusing mainly on the multiple difficulties that children experience when entering the world of reading and writing.

The first problem we started with concentrated on the developmental disorder dyslexia. Currently we still use diagnostic tools that lack scientific background, which leads to diagnostic tools that mainly focus on reading speed. However, after years of research, dyslexia showed to be a phonological problem. The dyslexia diagnostic tool that we are developing focusses on these new scientific insights. This does not only improve the correct diagnosis for dyslexia, but also it provides insight in what is the most suitable treatment for a child, leading to the improvement of reading and writing.

The second focus of De lerende mens is to make reading fun again. Over the years it became noticeable that children lost joy in reading, causing not only the quantity and quality of reading to decline, but it also caused the shrinkage of vocabulary. Furthermore, research showed that reading poems and stories improves our social-emotional development, since the same neural networks show activity during real experiences and experiences we read about. Therefore, we developed ASGAARD a game that is inspired by Viking mythology. The main aim is to stimulate the intrinsic motivation of the children to read and write again.

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  1. Master Cognitive Neuroscience

    Donders Institute
  2. Bachelor Artificial Intelligence

    Radboud University