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Cognitive aging and computer-based instruction: the role of coherence level and advanced organizers




Wolfson, Natalie E., author
Kraiger, Kurt, 1957-, advisor
Gibbons, Alyssa Anne Mitchell, committee member
Rhodes, Matthew G., committee member
Mumford, Troy V., committee member

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The purpose of this study was to examine the effect of two instructional design principles, instructional coherence and advanced organizers, on the learning outcomes of older and younger adults in a computer-based training context. Instructional coherence refers to the notion that people learn more deeply when information not directly relevant to the learning goal is removed from instruction. Advanced organizers are introductory organizing frameworks for the intended training content (e.g., outlines). Participants (49 younger adults and 52 older adults) completed a computer-based training program and were randomly assigned to a condition in which information was coherent or incoherent and to a condition in which learning material was preceded by an advanced organizer or not preceded by an advanced organizer. Results indicated that 1) overall, older adults performed worse on learning outcome measures compared to younger adults, 2) instructional coherence significantly improved the learning performance of both older and younger adults, and 3) advanced organizers improved the performance of older adults but did not affect the performance of younger adults in transfer tasks. Based on the results, it is recommended that future researchers explore age-specific instructional formats in order to optimize the performance of older adults in computer-based training contexts.


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Computer-based instruction -- Design
Instructional systems -- Design
computer-based instruction
Curriculum evaluation
Cognition -- Age factors
Older people -- Education
advance organizers


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