Effectiveness of CD-ROM Memory Training as a Function of Within-Session Autonomy

Jane S. Saczynski, University of Massachusetts Medical School
George W. Rebok, Johns Hopkins University
Keith E. Whitfield, Pennsylvania State University
Dana J. Plude, University of Maryland

Abstract

This study investigated the acquisition of computer skills in relation to computerized memory training in a sample of middle-aged and older adults. Computer skills included mouse use, navigation through the training CD, and autonomy of the training sessions and were assessed in twelve training sessions. Participant characteristics, including prior computer use, were non-significantly associated with acquisition of computer skills over either the first or second half of the training sessions. Acquisition of computer skills was differentially associated with memory performance within training sessions and cognitive performance assessed at posttest. Skills acquisition and performance relationships also differed between the first and second training intervals. Findings suggest that acquisition of computer skills is not a barrier to computerized learning and that novel interventions can be offered to individuals of various ages and computer skill levels. Additionally, computer learning early in the training is a more salient factor in memory improvement than are skills acquired in the second half of the training. Results offer implications for the design and evaluation of computerized training programs.