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Elias Ingebrand

My main research interests concern how learning, in relation to the use of modern technologies, is constituted in interaction through cooperation between people living with dementia and cognitively healthy people.


In my doctoral work I am investigating how people living with dementia use tablet computers as a social activity together with either their next-of-kin in their home environment or with personnel at a residential care facility.

The thesis explores how people diagnosed dementia can learn to use tablet computers as a social activity without focused intervention techniques.

People with dementia are often portrayed as non-competent members in interaction. One largely unquestioned notion is that people with dementia are incapable of new learning. My thesis challenges this by exploring interactional changes for people with dementia who use iPads for the first time.




Novel learning for people living with dementia

This study challenges the notion that people living with dementia are unable to achieve novel learning without focused intervention techniques.

A person living with dementia learning to navigate an iPad: A case study

Through a case study design, we explore how a woman living with dementia (Alzheimer's disease) learn to use a tablet computer with support from communicative partners. Focus is on changes in the interactional organization over the course of six weeks in the activity of using an augmentative and alternative communication application.

The study is based on video recordings and the theoretical framework of learning as changing participation in joint activities. Quantitative and qualitative analyses show how the participant living with dementia, over time relies less on the expertise and explicit instructions of her interlocutors when navigating the application, and more on the immediate feedback provided by the tablet computer.

This study further emphasizes the procedural nature of learning for people living with dementia as the woman's embodied actions were carried out in an increasingly more direct fashion.

People living with dementia positioning themselves as learners

Recent studies have demonstrated that people living with dementia, contrary to common believes, are capable of novel learning without structured interventions. However, little is still known about the situated practices used in the learning process.

With this study we explore how people living with dementia in residential care facilities position, perceive, and assert, themselves as learners in a novel activity. The study is based on video recordings of eight people living with dementia, who for the first time use tablet computers as a social activity on a one-to-one basis with their formal caregivers.

Through interaction analysis we show how the participants living with dementia use the engagement displays of requests, accounts, formulations and metacomments to make their active undertaking in the ongoing activity public to their communication partner.

Our findings suggest that people living with dementia might still perceive themselves as individuals capable of novel learning and that they are active and engaged agents in this process.

Centra and projects

En skylt

Center for dementia research (CEDER)

The research has a focus on the everyday life with dementia. Of special interest is the challenges and the ways persons with dementia and their significant others manage and organize their lives.

More research on Ageing and Social Change



Elias Ingebrand, Christina Samuelsson, Lars-Christer Hydén (2023) Supporting people living with dementia in novel joint activities: Managing tablet computers Journal of Aging Studies, Vol. 65, Article 101116 Continue to DOI
Sandra Derbring, Melissa Barbos Nordström, Jenny-Ann Svenningsson, Anna Ekström, Elias Ingebrand, Christina Samuelsson, Katja Laakso, Margret Buchholz (2023) Effects of a digital reminiscing intervention on people with dementia and their care-givers and relatives Ageing & Society, Vol. 43, p. 1983-2000 Continue to DOI
Elias Ingebrand (2023) Dementia and learning: The use of tablet computers in joint activities


Elias Ingebrand (2022) Guiding novice tablet users living with dementia in managing iPads
Elias Ingebrand, Christina Samuelsson, Lars-Christer Hydén (2022) People living with dementia collaborating in a joint activity Learning, Culture and Social Interaction, Vol. 34, Article 100629 Continue to DOI