Training Procedures

The training materials that accompany the Think-and-Link system are grounded in the latest literature on instructional principles for users with memory and learning problems. The materials take a ground up approach without making any assumptions about the user's prior experience or knowledge, and use the same technology and visual paradigms as the functional system. Research has shown that if a trainer faithfully follows this training protocol, even users with severe cognitive impairments can learn to use the email program.

Theoretical Foundations

Guided by established instructional methodologies , the project has developed the following general model for training:

Instructional Sequence

Since Think-and-link users come from a variety of educational backgrounds, and experience a variety of learning and retention difficulties, the instructional sequence cannot make assumptions about the user's prior knowledge or facility at aquiring new procedures. Therefore, the training protocol requires that all users begin with the basics of mouse movement and screen attentiveness. For some users, these tasks are easily mastered, while others may have to spend significant effort. However, the protocol has been painstakingly scutinized to maintain seperability and severability of task domains. The entire sequence procedes by chaining at the simplest possible level only those tasks which have been explicitly mastered.

Instructional Materials

The Training Manual provides a thorough discussion of the best instructional practices, and along with the accompanying video, provides the trainer with specific advice about how to make the training interaction as effective as possible. For each training task, the manual provides specific, easy-to-follow instructions that guide the trainer through the activity, along with a goal attainment checklist to objectivize learning assessment.

Each task consists of a series of steps for the user to perform on the Training Interface. While it is based in the same technology as the functional interface, the training interface assists the trainer and user by ignoring off-task gestures. Thus for any given lesson, the system only reinforces the specific learning sequence.

Sample Session