Establishing the effectiveness of technology-enabled dementia education for health and social care practitioners: A systematic review

Kevin Muirhead*, Leah Macaden, Keith Smyth, Colin Chandler, Charlotte Clarke, Rob Polson, Chris O’Malley

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Dementia prevalence is increasing globally and yet evidence suggest that gaps exist in dementia-specific knowledge among health and social care practitioners. Technological modes of educational delivery may be as effective as traditional education and can provide practitioners with increased accessibility to dementia training. Benefits of digitally based dementia education have been established including pedagogical strategies that influence dementia knowledge and care attitudes. This review aimed to appraise and synthesise contemporary experimental evidence that evaluated technology-enabled dementia education for health and social care practitioners. Outcomes based on Kirkpatrick’s Model were learner satisfaction; knowledge, skills, and attitudes; behaviours; and results. 

Methods: MEDLINE, CINAHL, and Web of Science were among 8 bibliographic databases searched from January 2005 until February 2020. Keywords included dementia and education (and terms for technological modes of education, learning, or training). We included experimental and quasi-experimental studies. Medical Education Research Study Quality Instrument established the overall quality of included studies and pragmatic application of Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool established individual study quality and highlighted methodological features of educational research. Narrative synthesis was conducted as heterogeneous outcome data precluded meta-analysis. 

Results: We identified 21 relevant studies: 16 evaluated online dementia education and 5 evaluated computer-based approaches. Most studies used before-after designs and study quality was moderate overall. Most studies reported knowledge-based outcomes with statistically significant findings favouring the training interventions. Positive effects were also observed in studies measuring skills and attitudinal change. Fewer studies reported significant findings for behavioural change and results due to training. Case-based instruction was a frequently described instructional strategy in online dementia education and videos were common information delivery modes. CD-ROM training and simulation activities were described in computer-based dementia education. 

Discussion: Future emphasis must be placed on teaching and learning methods within technology-enabled dementia education which should be role relevant and incorporate active and interactive learning strategies. Future evaluations will require contextually relevant research methodologies with capacity to address challenges presented by these complex educational programmes and multi-component characteristics. 

Systematic review registration: This systematic review is based on a protocol registered with PROSPERO (CRD42018115378).

Original languageEnglish
Article number252
Number of pages26
JournalSystematic Reviews
Issue number1
Early online date21 Sep 2021
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • dementia
  • dementia education
  • dementia training
  • effectiveness
  • systematic review
  • technology-enabled learning


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