CEC Theses and Dissertations


Design of Specifications And Requirements For The Computer-Based Training System For An Automated Small-Group Home Facility To Accommodate Mentally And Physically Disabled Persons

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Computer Education


Center for Computer and Information Sciences


John Kingsburry

Committee Member

Jack M. Spurlock

Committee Member

Patricia Thompson


There is a critical need for comprehensive residential living facilities, in other than large institutional environments, for persons with both mental and physical disabilities. In an automated small-group home, these people could achieve a quality of life derived from having some control over their living and learning environments. Technology could be the answer to help the multiple handicapped individual.

The purpose of this dissertation project was to design specifications and requirements for a training methodology to prepare multiple and severely disabled people to use a computerized environmental-control system. A residential facility for mentally retarded individuals in Broward County served as the "Project Center". The primary objectives for the project were: (1) to determine the category of individual with the ability to use a computerized environmental-control system; and (2) to design an appropriate training methodology.

Training candidates were carefully chosen to select individuals who represented a cross-section of people with multiple handicaps and who were potentially able to derive benefit from an automated small-group home environment. Baseline evaluation, formative evaluation, and summative evaluation procedures were studied and applied, as appropriate, to learners, to lessons (objectives), and to the total program. The product of this project was a prototype of a training program to be used as the basis for the formative revision of future expanded training.

Expectations for using a standard or semi-standard keyboard for computer input were not reasonable; therefore, an alternative input device was developed. It consisted of two large-format, recessed, push-button keypads that were distinctly color-coded and permitted trainees with limited hand control to sequence through the menu options and select the desired choice. Consistent with previous experience of the trainees in the use of communication aids, menu choices for control-action functions were represented as easily recognized pictures ("icons") instead of words.

Target goals (performance objectives) designed to teach the general skills required to accomplish desired functions using the computer and related input and output devices were written to be meaningful, measurable, and referenced to the broad goals initially established. When Target Goals were successfully achieved, the trainee had acquired the knowledge necessary to make menu choices and use the computer system, including input and output devices.

Pre-training evaluation was conducted by a team of observers. Evaluation of training sessions followed; during which the trainer applied Training session Procedures developed specifically for this project to teach trainees to accomplish the Target Goals. Post-training evaluation was conducted by the same team that conducted pre-training evaluation

The overall increase for all trainees, who when totaled together completed 64 of the maximum possible 80 rounds (8 trainees x 10 rounds per trainee). Trainees as a group were able to accomplish an average of 76.04 percent of the maximum possible goals. They were able to accomplish an average of 95.05 percent of goals tried.

The broad program goals were effectively transformed into educationally sound performance objectives. The training session procedures were appropriate to accomplish the Target Goals for 5 of the 6 training candidates who were not classified as being in the severe to profound level of mental retardation, even though their physical disabilities were classified as severe. The two keypad input approach used with the icon-based, binary choice menu software and the training session procedures proved to be very effective for the be used as the basis for future training of persons with disabilities similar to those at the project center.

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