Memory strategy training in Spanish people with moderate intellectual disabilities in a technological setting

Jul 8, 2013, 12:14 PM
Sanchez, L. F. P., & Llera, J. A. B. (2007). Memory strategy training in Spanish people with moderate intellectual disabilities in a technological setting. Journal of Special Education Technology, 22(2), 45-54.


  • Participants were 40 individuals with moderate intellectual disabilities (ages 17 to 29) who were participating in the New Technologies Program of the Down Syndrome Foundation of Madrid.
  • The study aimed to use technology (i.e., instruction on the basic toolbar functions in Microsoft Word) as a cognitive tool to improve the memory capacity of individuals with moderate intellectual disabilities.


  • The experimental and control group interventions took place at the training site for the New Technologies Program during participants’ first semester of their second year in the program.


  • Both the control (N=10) and experimental (N=10) groups were receiving twice weekly 60-minute training sessions on the use of technology.
  • All participants took the memory subtests from the Stanford-Binet Intelligence Scale as a pre- and post-test measure.
  • Participants in the experimental group received a 15-minute intervention during each session aimed at teaching rehearsal strategies to improve memory capacity, while control group participants just received the regular curriculum scheduled to be taught during each session.
  • Within the experimental group, subjects were guided through instruction to learn the names and locations of the Microsoft Word toolbar items using three types of rehearsal strategies: instructional, self-instructional, and contextualized.
  • During the instructional strategy, participants were taught to repeat the names of presented toolbar icons after hearing the instructor say the name of each item.
  • During the self-instructional strategy, participants: (1) observed the instructor verbally repeating instructions to himself, (2) performed the same task with instructor guidance, (3) performed the task repeating the instructions out loud independently, (4) performed the task independently whispering the instructions, and then (5) performed the behavior using internal language only.
  • During the contextualized strategy, participants performed the same activities in which they actually used the icons for their intended uses and completed an online task where they were asked to pair the icon with the name of the task it performed.


  • When comparing pre- and post-test measures of memory, the researchers found that the experimental group participants obtained higher post-test scores on all but one of the memory subtests when compared to the control group participants.
  • These findings suggest that the rehearsal strategies taught led to an increase in participants’ general ability to memorize information.
  • Using technology to teach the rehearsal strategies allowed participants to engage in a highly interactive task and provided a means for flexible stimulus presentation (e.g., presentation speed, adaptability to individual needs, duration, color, etc.).
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