Cogmed Working Memory Training®

Cogmed Working Memory Training® provides computer-based training for all school-aged children (grades 1-12), as well as separate programs for preschoolers and adults. Cogmed is offered by Pearson, an 80-year-old clinical assessment organization that provides programs and assessments for psychologists, speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, schools, and clinical settings. The software was developed in 2001 by Dr. Torkel Klingberg, a neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. In 2006, Dr. Klingberg won the Philip’s Nordic Prize for his research on working memory training for children with ADHD, and the 2009 MD Axel Hirsch prize in the field of neurobiology for advancements to the field of cognitive function development.

Key components of Cogmed include computer-based cognitive exercises designed by neuroscientists to challenge and improve a student’s working memory capacity. Training is progressive—based on user performance, the program’s difficulty level is adjusted in real time to continuously challenge the user at the right level to generate improvement. This adjustment feature makes the training applicable across varied user ages and levels. The computer-based training consists of 25 training sessions done online, each approximately 30-45 minutes. All sessions include tasks that target aspects of working memory. The standard 25-session program includes 5 sessions per week for 5 weeks (variable training products are available). The Cogmed Progress Indicator (CPI) uses three working memory tasks— following directions, mathematics, and visual/spatial working memory—to assess pre-training working memory.  

The CPI assessments are repeated throughout the training to measure progress and lead to an index of improvement. The program includes an administrative dashboard where teachers and principals can view participation, progress towards goals, fidelity of implementation, and measurable improvements. Additionally, the online Cogmed Coaching Centre offers teachers resources like report templates, rating scales, manuals, and online video training.

Cogmed also offers coach-assisted training. Coaches assist with program setup, user profile, and training levels. They also provide motivation, support, and feedback to ensure that as many users as possible accurately complete the training. Coaching takes a school through the stages of start-up, weekly support, wrap-up, and six-month follow-up.

According to Cogmed, when working memory capacity is improved, behavior also improves, because a deficit in working memory can manifest as general attention issues. In other words, training a tightly defined cognitive function creates a cascading effect of improvements, including the increased abilities to pay attention, resist distractions, self-manage, and learn. Studies have shown that students completing the training improved math and reading test scores. The program has been adopted in schools worldwide and is available in nine languages. Cogmed is available for clinical and school use.





Three studies of students, male and female, between the ages of 8 and 10, found that using the prescribed program improved performance and testing scores in math and reading. These studies were conducted in the UK and Sweden. Following are the references:

Holmes, J., Gathercole, S.E., & Dunning, D.L. (2009). Adaptive training leads to sustained enhancement of poor working memory in children. Developmental Science, 12(4), F9-F15. doi: 10.1111/j.1467-7687.2009.00848x Holmes, J. & Gathercole, S.E. (2013). Taking working memory training from the laboratory into schools. Educational Psychology: An International Journal of Experimental Educational Psychology, 34(4), 440-450. doi:10.1080/01443410.2013.797338

Söderqvist, S. & Bergman Nutley, S. (2015) Working memory training is associated with long term attainments in math and reading. Frontiers in Psychology, 6, 1711. doi: 10.3389/fpsyg.2015.01711

Cogmed summarizes the research literature and independent studies involving Cogmed Working Memory Training to produce a Claims & Evidence document. The current version of this document includes summaries of over 80 studies showing efficacy of the Cogmed method. This review leads to a list of specific claims that Cogmed references based on set of criteria outlined in the document: