Course Title: CE 10. Learning from Your Mistakes? Errorless Learning in Amnesia and Dementia


Credit Hours: 1.5


Instructor(s) Roy Kessels, PhD


Learning from Your Mistakes? Errorless Learning in Amnesia and Dementia

Abstract & Learning Objectives

Patients with an amnesic syndrome or dementia have profound deficits in explicit anterograde memory, while implicit learning is relatively spared. In clinical practice though, it is complicated to assess implicit learning capacity and to apply it in setting up interventions aimed at the acquisition of new information or skills. Errorless learning is a concept that optimizes residual learning capacity in amnesic patients by reducing errors or interference during learning. This approach may increase the patients’ independence and reduce their care burden. This workshop will introduce the fundamentals of this approach first. Second, studies that have applied errorless learning in amnesia or dementia will be discussed. Third, I will describe how the principle of errorless learning can be applied in clinical practice, providing examples from daily practice and advice on implementation, including sample scripts and step-by-step instructions based on a recently developed practical manual. The workshop is targeted at (clinical) neuropsychologists working with amnesia/dementia patients or those who supervise formal caregivers in e.g. memory clinics, general hospitals, psychiatric hospitals or rehabilitation centers.

Roy Kessels, PhD

Roy Kessels, PhD

Professor of Neuropsychology, Radboud University Nijmegen; and Clinical neuropsychologist at the Department of Medical Psychology, Radboud University Medical Center and Vincent van Gogh Institute of Psychiatry, Venray, the Netherlands

After participation, the learner is able to:
(1) describe the theory behind errorless learning,
(2) select everyday tasks suitable for this approach and
(3) design an errorless learning intervention.

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Speaker Biography

Roy Kessels is a registered clinical neuropsychologist and professor of neuropsychology at Radboud University Nijmegen, the Netherlands. He obtained his master’s degree at this university and completed a clinical internship at the neurology clinic of Ludwig Maximilian University in Munich, Germany. He then moved to Utrecht to get his PhD in 2001 with Prof. Edward de Haan on the neuropsychology of spatial memory. He completed his specialist clinical training at the neurology clinic of University Medical Center Utrecht and worked as assistant professor at Utrecht University. In 2006 he moved back to Nijmegen where he was appointed full professor of neuropsychology in 2008. Among his research topics are memory (dys)function in relation to the medial temporal lobe as well as memory assessment and rehabilitation, both from a fundamental perspective (fMRI research) as from a clinical perspective (patient studies on MCI, dementia, stroke and Korsakoff’s amnesia). Clinically he is working at the memory clinic of Radboud University Medical Center and the Centre of Excellence for Korsakoff and alcohol-related cognitive disorders of Vincent van Gogh Institute for Psychiatry in Venray, the Netherlands. Kessels has (co-)authored more than 170 international peer-reviewed journal papers, several book chapters, the revised edition of the Location Learning Test, the Emotion Recogniton Test, and is (co-)editor of various handbooks on neuropsychology in the Netherlands. He is member of the board of governors of the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) and the Federation of European Societies of Neuropsychology.