In this study, a software application for elementary school-age children was specifically developed with the aim of improving the operational efficiency of working memory. Short-term effects of the programme could not be proven and only the visuo-spatial Corsi block span exhibited a training effect over a period of three months.
Authors: Claudia Maehler, Christina Joerns, & Kirsten Schuchardt
Source: Maehler, C.; Joerns, C.; Schuchardt, K. (2019). Training working memory of children with and without dyslexia. Children, 6(47), doi: 10.3390/children6030047
A software application for elementary school-age children was specifically developed for this study, with the aim of improving the operational efficiency of working memory. The phonological loop, the visuo-spatial sketchpad, and the central executive were trained in 18 sessions over a period of 6 weeks. The trained test group was composed of Grade 3 students, of which 43 were and 27 were not affected by dyslexia. The untrained control group comprised 41 Grade 6 students with dyslexia and 28 without dyslexia. Short-term effects of the programme could not be proven and only the visuo-spatial Corsi block span exhibited a training effect over a period of three months.
Three subsystems of working memory and tasks with which they can be measured
The present study evaluates the long-term effects of a training programme. The short-term effects immediately following training sessions have already been reported. The findings substantiate performance improvements in the visuo-spatial sketchpad and central executive subsystems for the group of typically-developing third-grade students, and only in the central executive for the children with dyslexia.
Participants in the study were 139 Grade 3 students from both rural and urban areas. They were assigned to four groups according to whether they had dyslexia and whether they participated in training. The groups were dyslexia trained (n = 43), dyslexia untrained (n = 41), control group trained (n = 27), and control group untrained (n = 28). All children were examined within a pre-test, post-test, and follow-up design, while school performance, intelligence, and working memory capacity were assessed at pre-test and working memory performance was tested at follow-up.
A computer game training-method named AGENT 8-1-0 comprised of 18 training sessions. Five working memory tasks were assigned in each session: two games for improving the phonological loop’s capacity, one game for the visuo-spatial sketchpad, and two games for stimulation of the central executive.