Minimalist and Traditional Training Methods for Older Adults: A Comparative Study in a Software Environment

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Virginia Tech

It is important to utilize training that facilitates the best learning and performance on real tasks. Much research has been conducted to develop theories of learning and determine beneficial training characteristics. Still, this research often remains as separated characteristic recommendations and is not used to ascertain the best training method. This occurs even though most individuals simply use a training method and do not bother to go into the literature for recommendations each time they are looking to train or teach something. Generalizability is also often a factor lacking in research on training methods. This lack of research performed includes those that could determine whether or not a specific training method is generalizable to older adults.

Minimalism is a training method that could potentially alleviate some of the problems older adults experience when training. Yet, up to the time of this study, no empirical evidence had been gathered to compare minimalism to traditional training methods for older adults. This study attempted to gain empirical data to test the hypothesis that minimalism is more beneficial as well as to gain initial subjective data from participants. This study also endeavored to conduct a preliminary examination of individual difference factors and their affects on performance and subjective reports in a training environment.

Results indicated that, although significant results were not obtained, minimalism may still be an area worth pursuing for training older adults. Effects of interactions, which included gender and learning style, are discussed. Implications, as well as recommendations and conclusions, of the study are presented.

computer education, programming, software, older adults, individual differences, minimalism, training