A computerized functional skills assessment and training program targeting technology based everyday functional skills

Philip D. Harvey, Lize Tibiriçá, Peter Kallestrup, Sara J. Czaja

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Today, many functional skills are technology-based, so development of a technology-based training program has broad importance. Here we present a computerized functional skills training program that was paired in half of the participants with a commercially available cognitive training (CCT) program. Non-impaired older individuals (NC) aged 60+ (n=45) and similarly aged individuals with mild cognitive impairment (MCI; n=50) were randomized to receive 12 weeks of twice-weekly computerized functional skills training (CFST) or 12 weeks of twice-weekly sessions split between CCT and CFST. Skills trained were use of an ATM; internet banking; ticket kiosk; telephone and internet prescription refill; medication management; and internet shopping. As with previous functional capacity assessments, we focus on completion time for each simulation. 51 participants completed the training program, either by mastering all 6 tasks (34) or completing 12 weeks of training. 44 more participants completed 4 or more training sessions so they were also analyzed for improvement up to their last training session. Completion time for all 6 tests significantly improved from the baseline assessment to the final training session in both groups of participants (all p<0.001 with an average improvement in task completion time of 45%). Further, there was no differential improvement in MCI and NC in the 6 tests from baseline to end of training (all t<1.66, all p>0.12). Finally, combined CCT plus CFST did not differ from CSFT alone on any of the percent-change score measures (all t<1.64, all p>0.11). Both NC and MCI groups evidenced substantial improvements in performance. CCT supplementation led to similar functional gains with half as many training sessions. The NC participants proceeded through the training fairly rapidly even without CCT supplementation; MCI participants required more training but learned equivalently. These findings suggest that even in cases with memory impairments, functional skills can be efficiently learned with training.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere60330
JournalJournal of Visualized Experiments
Issue number156
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • Aging
  • Computerized Cognitive Training
  • Everyday Activities
  • Functional Skills
  • Issue 156
  • Medicine
  • Mild Cognitive Impairment
  • Technology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Immunology and Microbiology(all)


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