Aging and pretraining in industrial inspection
Learning-to-learn skills were hypothesized as reasons for poorer learning performance by older workers. To test this on a complex, simulated industrial inspection task, 84 subjects in three age groups were trained for the task. Half received pretraining on organization of memory material and on size discrimination using tasks not directly related to the inspection task. Inspection speed decreased with age while errors increased. Pretraining reduced size discrimination errors and decision errors, having a larger effect than the age decrement and a consistent effect across age groups. There was no interaction between pretraining and the type (active or passive) of task training scheme used to train for the inspection task. It is concluded that intervention by pretraining and by the use of active training can improve the employability of older workers by removing the perceived barrier of their trainability.