Previous research has described the success of an intervention aimed at improving older adults' ability to regulate their learning. This metacognitive approach involves teaching older adults to allocate their study time more efficiently by testing themselves and restudying items that are less well learned.
Although this type of memory intervention has shown promise, training older adults to test themselves in the laboratory can be very time-intensive. Thus, the purpose of the present study is to transport the self-testing training method from the laboratory to home use.
A standard intervention design was used that included a pretraining session, multiple training sessions, and a posttraining session. Participants were randomly assigned to either the training group (n = 29) or the waiting list control group (n = 27). Moreover, we screened participants for whether they used the self-testing strategy during their pretraining test session.
Compared to the performance of the control group, the training group displayed significant gains, which demonstrates that older adults can benefit from training themselves to use these skills at home. Moreover, the results of the present study indicate that this metacognitive approach can effectively improve older adults' learning, even in those who spontaneously self-test prior to training.
Training metacognitive skills, such as self-testing and efficient study allocation, can improve the ability to learn new information in healthy older adults. More importantly, older adult clients can be supplied with an at-home training manual, which will ease the burden on practitioners.