Are people with mild dementia able to (re)learn how to use technology? A literature review

Y. J. F. Kerkhof, A. Bergsma, F. Mangiaracina, C. H. M. Planting, M. J. L. Graff, R. M. Dröes

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: There is growing evidence that people with mild dementia can benefit from using tablets and apps. Due to their cognitive decline, people with dementia need support in learning how to use these devices. The objective of this review was to identify which training interventions work best to help people with mild dementia (re)learn how to use technologies, including handheld touchscreen devices. Because the uptake of these devices in people with dementia is quite new, training interventions for the use of other technologies were also included, such as technologies assisting people in Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL). Design: An electronic search was conducted in the following databases: PubMed, APA PsycInfo (EBSCO), and CINAHL (EBSCO). Themes discussed include the learning effects; training method (e.g. errorful (EF) and errorless (EL) learning); training intensity and setting; technology task type; dementia type and severity; and study design and outcome measures. Results: In total, 16 studies were included. All studies reported positive learning effects and improved task performance in people with dementia, regardless of dementia severity, training intensity, setting, and the method used. Although the EL training method was successful more often than the EF training method, it would be inappropriate to conclude that the EL method is more effective, because the majority of studies only investigated EL training interventions with (multiple) single-case study designs. Conclusion: Future research should consider using more robust study designs, such as RCTs, to evaluate the effectiveness of training interventions for (re)learning technology-orientated tasks, including operating handheld touchscreen devices.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-128
Number of pages16
JournalInternational psychogeriatrics
Issue number2
Early online date2021
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Instrumental Activities of Daily Living (IADL)
  • dementia
  • effectiveness
  • errorless learning
  • tablet computers
  • technology
  • training interventions

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