On Line Web Course Improves Older Person Memory Skills

Period of Performance: 07/01/1999 - 12/31/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Compact Disc, Inc.
Silver Spring, MD 20905
Principal Investigator


Compact Disc Incorporate proposes research to utilize the World Wide Web (Web) and highly accessible courseware designed to improve personal memory skills of the able-minded aged. Memory-related courseware will be of inter not only to the elderly who are concerned with forgetfulness in remembering but also to older adults (and others) who are generally interested in the topic of memory functioning and improvement. Although older adults benefit from conventional memory training programs that are taught in classroom settings, those programs are labor-intensive and costly and are not always successful in producing long-lasting changes in effective strategy use. Thus, alto native modes of memory training for the elderly are needed, especially modes that are available within the home afford the opportunity of continued practice to reinforce memory skills. The Web is an exciting new mode of serve delivery for older adults and its potential is further enhanced by: 1) the introduction of Web-TV (by developers of the music CD, Phillips & Sony) which provides access to the WEB through a familiar television interface, 2) increasing computer literacy among older adults (demographic changes in the older adult population plus carry-over from technology in the workplace), 3) increasing ownership among the elderly of modem-equipped personal computers providing access to the Web, 4) increasing subscriptions to internet providers by older adult PC users who access Web sites such as SeniorNet.org and AARP.org bringing relevant services to their members, and 5) the purchase of Web-Tv by MicroSoft Corporation for $425 Million with subsequent major enhancements at greatly reduced costs. In all, there is tremendous potential for delivering educational and skill enhancement programs for older adults via the World Wide Web. We expect it will also provide social benefits to overcome some of the problems of loneliness experienced by homebound elderly. The specific aims of Phase I are: 1) produce a prototype Web Memory course that includes background information, strategy training, assessment, and practice components; 2) assess the acceptability of the pro of the prototype among older adults; 3) test the efficacy of the program in changing older adults' knowledge, attitudes, and intended behaviors toward enhancing memory skills; and, 4) use Phase I results in Phase I for full-scale development of a Web memory curriculum. PROPOSED COMMERCIAL APPLICATIONS: 1. Edutainment Publishing Corporation, UOL Publishing & Web-TV will distribute nationally. 2) The Practical Memory Institute will support Memory Web Courses with auxiliary material and professional market distribution. 3. Assisted Living Facilities. 4. Patient education in HMOs, Hospitals, Physicians offices, 5. Community centers and adult educational programs for seniors. 6. Nursing & Home wellness programs.