CEC Theses and Dissertations

Title

Basic Skills Training Program For the Handicapped Using Adaptive Computer Software

Date of Award

1989

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education

Department

Center for Computer and Information Sciences

Advisor

Thomas MacFarland

Committee Member

John Kingsburry

Committee Member

George K. Fornshell

Abstract

A basic computer skills training program for disabled adults was designed, implemented and evaluated. The training, using adaptive software, was offered in conjunction with a career placement program. Non-credit training courses with a low student/teacher ratio were run for 3 hours once a week or 1 1/2 hours twice a week. The 37 students were learning disabled, orthopedically impaired, other-health impaired, emotionally disturbed, visually impaired, multi-impaired, deaf, or educable mentally retarded. There was a heterogeneous mix of disability groups in the classes. The adaptive software applications used were: Mind Reader, Turbo Lightning, Freedom 1, Filch, vista 2, and Micro-Interpreter I. The courses, students and adaptive software were evaluated using structured individual interviews and Likert-type scale questionnaires. The evaluation data were categorized by disability and presented in narrative and table form. Of the students, 84% improved their ability to use the computer as a tool and 89% were placed in jobs, increased their job skills or enrolled in career courses. Further studies were recommended to identify target populations for new adaptive software applications. Additional studies were also recommended to determine the most effective method of keyboarding instruction, optimum class length and instructional grouping for disabled adults, and to evaluate other types of computer training programs for the disabled.

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