Are people with mild cognitive impairment aware of the benefits of errorless learning?

Shazia Akhtar, Chris J. A. Moulin, Peter Bowie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Citations (Scopus)


Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) has been described as a memory deficit in the absence of other cognitive dysfunction. It can be thought of as a pre-clinical dementia. Memory impairment in this group is not as severe as in early dementia and thus learning is still possible. We were interested to see if errorless learning, a widely used rehabilitation technique, was of benefit to people with MCI. Since it has been shown that successful rehabilitation is somewhat contingent on awareness of function, we were also interested to see if people with MCI were aware of the benefits of errorless learning. The present study employed an errorless learning procedure on 16 people with MCI and 16 older adult controls to learn two lists of 10 words in errorless and errorful learning conditions. We adopted a metacognitive approach measuring people’s memory monitoring through judgements of learning (JOLs) a prediction of future memory performance. The results revealed errorless learning is an effective memory rehabilitation tool for people with MCI, with significant increases in recall performance for both groups relative to errorful learning. Most interestingly participants were aware of the benefits of errorless learning in their JOLs. MCI participants and controls both had significantly higher JOLs for words studied under errorless learning conditions. The learning performance in MCI and theories of metacognitive awareness are discussed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-346
Number of pages17
JournalNeuropsychological Rehabilitation
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2006


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