Monday, September 21, 2009

"Cognitive Skills Training or Brain-Based Learning; Which Is It?"

Cognitive Skills training has a long history from the 1960s into the 1970s. Since it is a scientific, technical term, the average lay person is not sure as to what it really means. It can convey a detrimental underlying meaning that something mentally is wrong with the person.

This is not the case. Unless you understand the psychometric testing that measures the information processing and cognitive skill components, the subject becomes complicated. Unless one has advanced course work in this area, it is difficult to explain memory and cognitive processes in simple terms. Yet, we all have a particular cognitive profile, and most of us do not realize or know what it is.

For years, cognitive psychologists tested for problems, and gave medication or remediation. Little assistance was available for the average person. Teachers knew they had learning and behavioral difficulties in the classroom. Yet, it became too tedious and time consuming to complete full psychological batteries on the many children requiring identification. And, only the certified School Psychologist could administer the complex testing batteries. Yet, something had to be done.

In jumped "Brain-Based Learning" into the typical classroom. Many teachers and lay people came up with an irrational exuberance of solutions. The problem was that these techniques or methodologies were randomly implemented and not scientifically tested. It became a "hit and miss" proposition.

Interestingly, it requires minimally 12 hours of pre- and post-testing and a few more hours of evaluation to arrive at solid conclusions. This level of work becomes mind-boggling, and psychologists and specialists deservedly charge solid professional fees.

Since people are not willing to make large investments unless there is a real nagging necessity for it, subsequently the average person is not often, or ever, tested for cognitive skills weaknesses.

Yet, I conducted these exhaustive, comprehensive, standardized measurements and evaluations on thousands of high average, average, low average, and gifted individuals as part of the course pro bono because of my scientific curiosity. Each had a unique profile, which could be improved.

Importantly, I could see dramatic change with my intervention, although experienced at different time intervals by each individual. I knew how important it would be to document it completely.

Living in a university town, full professors and statisticians volunteered their services for this important analyses work, that entailed twenty years of publications and almost thirty of applied research practice. I had many scholarly advisors. As the work progressed through publications and peer review, additional psychology and education professors from different universities analyzed and followed the unique data compilations.

Scientific discovery was in process.

Today, there are programs that have statistical results, but few that have longitudinal findings. In other words, does the training intervention "last"? It takes years to collect this type of data, especially among various demographic groups. It is also difficult to locate the same individual years down the road for subsequent testing. Additionally, even if they are located, are clients willing to be retested years later?

Of my seven experiments, six studies, with a variety of ages and demographic groups, had 1-3 years longitudinal tracking with complete positive findings.

For further information, see the link "scholarly publications" on the nav bar. For comment, click on:" Respond Further on Jan's Blog."