Evidence-based practice guidelines for instructing individuals with neurogenic memory impairments: What have we learned in the past 20 years?
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This article examines the instructional research literature pertinent to teaching procedures or information to individuals with acquired memory impairments due to brain injury or related conditions. The purpose is to evaluate the available evidence in order to generate practice guidelines for clinicians working in the field of cognitive rehabilitation. A systematic review of the instructional literature from 1986 to 2006 revealed 51 studies meeting search criteria. Studies were analysed and coded within the following four key domains: Population Sample, Intervention, Study Design, and Treatment Outcomes. Coding included 17 characteristics of the population sample; seven intervention parameters; five study design features; and five treatment outcome parameters. Interventions that were evaluated included systematic instructional techniques such as method of vanishing cues and errorless learning. The majority of the studies reported positive outcomes in favour of systematic instruction. However, issues related to the design and execution of effective instruction lack clarity and require further study. The interaction between the target learning objective and the individual learner profile is not well understood. The evidence review concludes with clinical recommendations based on the instructional literature and a call to clinicians to incorporate these methods into their practice to maximise patient outcomes.
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