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Older adults and computer technology : the role of conventional manuals, multimedia, and the effects of practice

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Older adults and computer technology : the role of conventional manuals, multimedia, and the effects of practice

Kurzman, David (1998) Older adults and computer technology : the role of conventional manuals, multimedia, and the effects of practice. PhD thesis, Concordia University.

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Abstract

With the continuing absorption of computers into everyday life, it becomes important to determine the most effective methods for teaching older adults to use computers as well as the extent to which their ease of learning is affected by individual differences in ability and aptitude. In this study 48 older computer-naive women aged 51 to 78 years (M = 65.8, SD = 6.0) were trained in word processing using either a written, self-paced manual only (Text; N = 24) or the manual plus multimedia demonstrations (Multimedia; N = 24). In both conditions participants learned how to perform a task and then executed it on the computer. Individuals in the Text condition received two learning trials on the computer per command learned. Individuals in the Multimedia condition viewed and heard a demonstration of the steps required to complete the command and then received one learning trial. Following training the participants completed a quiz, and then repeated each command 10 times during the practice phase of each day's session. Half the individuals in each training condition were assigned to the Variable Practice condition in which they alternated between two methods to complete the practice items, while the other half were assigned to the Consistent Practice condition and used only a single method throughout the practice phase. On the final study day, participants completed exercises which integrated all they had learned, and additional exercises that measured the extent to which training on this word processing program could be transferred to a similar (near-transfer) program. Neither type of training nor the type of practice had any effect on performance on any measure of word processing acquisition. As individuals practiced, their accuracy increased, while the number of errors, time required to complete the commands, and requests for help decreased. Path analyses examined the effects on performance of exogenous variables including age, education, factors based on cognitive abilities (memory, language, speed, visuospatial, and manual control), and attitudes towards computers. The discussion focuses on the implications of the findings for training older adults learning to use a word processor.

Divisions:Concordia University > Faculty of Arts and Science > Psychology
Item Type:Thesis (PhD)
Authors:Kurzman, David
Pagination:xiii, 274 leaves : ill. ; 29 cm.
Institution:Concordia University
Degree Name:Theses (Ph.D.)
Program:Psychology
Date:1998
Thesis Supervisor(s):Arbuckle-Maag, Tannis
ID Code:527
Deposited By:Concordia University Libraries
Deposited On:27 Aug 2009 13:12
Last Modified:08 Dec 2010 10:15
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