Learning and knowing technology as lived experience in people with Alzheimer’s disease: a phenomenological study

Rosenberg, L. & Nygård, L. Aging & Mental Health | Published online: 03 September 2016

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Objectives: Most research on learning in the field of dementia has studied teaching approaches, while little is known about learning as experienced and enacted by the people with dementia. The aim was to explore the lived experience of learning and maintaining knowledge related to technology among people with mild to moderate stage dementia.

Method: Seven persons with dementia were interviewed in-depth, and data were analyzed with a phenomenological approach.

Results: The participants positioned themselves on a continuum from ‘Updating and expanding is not for me’ to ‘Updating and expanding is really for me’. They used different ways of learning in their everyday life – relying on one’s habituated repertoire of actions, on other people or on technology itself, or belonging to a learning context.

Conclusions: We have much to gain from better understanding of how people with dementia strive to learn and maintain their skills and knowledge related to technology. This is particularly important as they seem to use other approaches than those employed in current teaching methods. The necessity of learning stands out particularly when it comes to the interaction with the current multitude and ever-changing designs of technologies, including assistive technologies developed specifically to support people with dementia.

Read the abstract here

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