Cogmed Working Memory Training is a computer-based program, created by Pearson Education, to help students improve their ability to focus, concentrate, and learn by improving their working memory. Difficulty focusing, concentrating, completing tasks, or even following instructions may be caused by deficits in working memory. Working memory is defined as the ability to hold information in short-term memory while using that information to complete a task or reach a goal. An example would be holding the steps of how to complete a division problem in your mind while simultaneously working on the equation, or remembering multiple directions while traveling from point A to point B (e.g., go to the end of the hall, make a right, walk to the water fountain, turn left, and stop at the third door on your left).
If your child has been given an IQ test, you should have received a summary of what their working memory skills are like. Students with signs of ADHD, learning disabilities, or other learning needs are often affected by deficits in working memory. If you are unsure of what your child’s working memory skills are like, and your child is having difficulty keeping up in school, you can request an evaluation from the school psychologist (or a private psychologist) to find out if working memory is an area of concern. Students who struggle with working memory may have significant difficulty keeping up with peers in the classroom. Adults interested in improving their own working memory may also request an IQ test from a private psychologist.
Several research studies with no affiliation to Cogmed demonstrate the improvements in working memory for individuals who participated in the program. Studies found that improvements in working memory led to improvements in the ability to pay attention and follow instructions, and to improvements in reading and math performance. For more specific information about the research studies conducted on Cogmed Working Memory Training see published research studies on Cogmed and ongoing research studies on Cogmed. .
How Does Cogmed Working Memory Training Work?
Cogmed, which is designed by neuroscientists, challenges the trainee’s working memory capacity through computerized activities that challenge working memory. The difficulty level of the training is adjusted in real time by the software, based on the trainee’s performance. The fine-tuned calibration means that every Cogmed student will always be training at the very edge of his or her cognitive capacity. Cogmed can be used with many different types of people, from a young child with severely impaired capacity, to an adult in good cognitive shape. Children or adults participating in Cogmed training also receive a personal Cogmed-trained support coach who ensures that the trainee is utilizing the program correctly. The coach makes sure the trainee has the right profile for the training (e.g., is in need of working memory training), and that the timing is right. The coach is responsible for providing motivation, support, and the feedback necessary to get the most out the training. With coaches in place, 90% of Cogmed trainees complete their training. The research (which is linked to above) also demonstrates that improved working memory also improves behavior, because the child (or adult) will be better able to pay attention, resist distractions, self-manage, and learn. If you have more questions, contact a Cogmed training coach to get more information about how Cogmed works.
Side Note: I can say that the biggest con to Cogmed is the price. It is not cheap by any means. I am not sharing this post to get you to purchase Cogmed, rather I just want to spread awareness about a program that may help you or your child. Additionally, if schools were to purchase the program, then parents would not have to worry about the cost.
Here is a video to show you more about what Cogmed is all about!
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Rachel Wise is a certified school psychologist and licensed behavior specialist with a Master’s Degree in Education. She is also the head author and CEO at educationandbehavior.com, a site for parents, educators, and counselors to find effective, research-based strategies that work for children. Rachel has been working with individuals with academic and behavioral needs for over 20 years and has a passion for making a positive difference in the lives of children and the adults who support them.