Despite the central role of learning in visual recognition, it is largely unknown whether visual form learning is maintained in older age. We examined whether training improved performance in both young and older adults at two key stages of visual recognition: integration of local elements and global form discrimination. We used a shape-discrimination task (concentric vs. radial patterns) in which young and older adults showed similar performance before training. Using a parametric stimulus space that allowed us to manipulate global features and background noise, we were able to distinguish integration and discrimination processes. We found that training improves global form discrimination in both young and older adults. However, learning to integrate local elements is impaired in older age, possibly because of reduced tolerance to external noise. These findings suggest that visual selection processes, rather than global feature representations, provide a fundamental limit for learning-dependent plasticity in the aging brain.