The characteristics of effective technology-enabled dementia education: A systematic review and mixed research synthesis

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

Abstract

Background: Dementia education is required to address gaps in dementia-specific knowledge among health and social care practitioners amidst increasing dementia prevalence. Harnessing technology for dementia education may remove obstacles to traditional education and empower large communities of learners. This systematic review aimed to establish the technological and pedagogical characteristics associated with effective technology-enabled dementia education for health and social care practitioners. 

Methods: MEDLINE, PubMed, Web of Science, CINAHL, Scopus, PsycINFO, ERIC and OVID Nursing Database were searched from January 2005 until February 2020. Quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods studies were eligible for inclusion. Study quality was assessed with the Mixed Methods Appraisal Tool. Quantitative evidence was categorised based on Kirkpatrick’s Model. Qualitative data was synthesised thematically and integrated with quantitative findings before conclusions were drawn. 

Results: Twenty-one published papers were identified. Participants were acute, primary and long-term care practitioners, or were students in higher education. Most training was internet-based; CD-ROMs, simulations and tele-mentoring were also described. Technology-enabled dementia education was predominantly associated with positive effects on learning outcomes. Case-based instruction was the most frequently described instructional strategy and videos were common modes of information delivery. Qualitative themes emerged as existing strengths and experience; knowledge gaps and uncertainty; developing core competence and expertise; involving relevant others; and optimising feasibility. 

Discussion: Technology-enabled dementia education is likely to improve dementia knowledge, skills and attitudes among health and social care practitioners from multiple practice contexts. Confidence in the results from quantitative studies was undermined by multiple confounding factors that may be difficult to control in the educational research context. Convenience and flexibility are key benefits of technology-enabled instructive and simulated pedagogy that can support the application of theory into practice. More research is required to understand the role of online learning networks and provisions for equitable engagement. A future emphasis on organisational and environmental factors may elucidate the role of technology in ameliorating obstacles to traditional dementia education. 

Systematic review registration: PROSPERO (CRD42018115378)

Original languageEnglish
Article number34
JournalSystematic Reviews
Volume11
Issue number1
Early online date23 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 23 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • dementia
  • dementia education
  • dementia training
  • mixed research
  • systematic review
  • technology-enabled learning

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