Journal Article

Errorless Learning for Training Individuals With Schizophrenia at a Community Mental Health Setting Providing Work Experience

Robert S. Kern, Robert P. Liberman, Deborah R. Becker, Robert E. Drake, Catherine A. Sugar and Michael F. Green

in Schizophrenia Bulletin

Published on behalf of Maryland Psychiatric Research Center

Volume 35, issue 4, pages 807-815
Published in print July 2009 | ISSN: 0586-7614
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1745-1701 | DOI:
Errorless Learning for Training Individuals With Schizophrenia at a Community Mental Health Setting Providing Work Experience

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The effects of errorless learning (EL) on work performance, tenure, and personal well-being were compared with conventional job training in a community mental health fellowship club offering 12-week time-limited work experience. Participants were 40 clinically stable schizophrenia and schizoaffective disorder outpatients randomly assigned to EL vs conventional instruction (CI) at a thrift-type clothing store. EL participants received training on how to perform their assigned job tasks based on principles of EL, such as error reduction and automation of task performance. CI participants received training common to other community-based entry-level jobs that included verbal instruction, a visual demonstration, independent practice, and corrective feedback. Participants were scheduled to work 2 hours per week for 12 weeks. For both groups, job training occurred during the first 2 weeks at the worksite. Work performance (assessed using the Work Behavior Inventory, WBI) and personal well-being (self-esteem, job satisfaction, and work stress) were assessed at weeks 2, 4, and 12. Job tenure was defined as the number of weeks on the job or total number of hours worked prior to quitting or study end. The EL group performed better than the CI group on the Work Quality Scale from the WBI, and the group differences were relatively consistent over time. Results from the survival analyses of job tenure revealed a non-significant trend favoring EL. There were no group differences on self-esteem, job satisfaction, or work stress. The findings provide modest support for the extensions of EL to community settings for enhancing work performance.

Keywords: schizophrenia; errorless learning; cognition; learning and memory; rehabilitation; work quality

Journal Article.  5630 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Child and Adolescent Psychiatry

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