Cognitive Load Theory Notes

I did a little research on consolidation which lead me to cognitive load theory.  I found two scholarly articles and did some research.  Following are the notes from this research.  Next step will be to use these notes to develop teaching strategies.

Cognitive Load Theory

·      Schema –  An automatic, unconscious coding or organization of incoming physiological or psychological stimuli, giving rise to a particular response or effect.

  • Students become better at a given task, be it physical or mental, by developing schema, that is cognitive systems, that make handling the information easier.
  • In formation must be processed by working memory to develop schema for handling it, thus becoming better. To better improve the acquisition of schema the working memory should be reduced.
  • Cognitive load theory are techniques for reducing this working memory load to better improve schema development
  • Working memory = short term memory
  • I have rather complex thoughts and ideas I want to get across to students. What I am reading here is to break it down even further into smaller parts.  My approach in recent years is not to tell the students all of the background, but to have them complete tasks
  • Change problem solving methods to avoid means-ends approaches that impose a heavy working memory load, by using goal-free problems or worked examples.
  • Eliminate the working memory load associated with having to mentally integrate several sources of information by physically integrating those sources of information.
  • Eliminate the working memory load associated with unnecessarily processing repetitive information by reducing redundancy.
  • Increase working memory capacity by using auditory as well as visual information under conditions where both sources of information are essential (i.e. non-redundant) to understanding.
  • Cognitive Load Theory, John Sweller November 2018
  • Long term memories (which lead to developing schema) when auditory and visual information is processed or rehearsed to a greater degree than other, everyday observations.
  • Intrinsic, extraneous or germane
  • Intrinsic deals with complexity of information being processed by learner.
  • Make intrinsic easer by breaking down into smaller steps
  • Extraneous are those implied by how the teacher delivers information
  • Reduce the amount of symbols the students need to decode
  • Germane deals with the creation of schemas
  • When we are forming new schemes the cognitive load is increased.
  • Reduce means – ends task
  • Avoid spit referencing of information and have uninterrupted videos


Fred Paas, Tamara van Gog, and John Sweller – Cognitive Load Theory:  New Conceptualizations, Specifications, and Integrated Research. 2010

  • Among the more important questions of CLT is how we present information so that it is stored in LTM the most efficient way.
  • Things coming into WM from LTM do not have the restrictions of new information
  • Germane load refers to the WM resources required to deal with intrinsic conative load
  • From a instructional design point of view it is important to consider germane and extraneouscognitive load as communicating vessels.


van Merriëboer, Jeroen T., Sluijsmans, Domonique M. A. Towards a Synthesis of Cognitive Load Theory, Four-Component Instructional Design and Self-Directed Learning

  • Cognitive Load focusing on instructional design materials and 4CID o design of educational programs.
  • Based on rich learning experience, in which students are confronted with tasks that are likely to come up outside of school but which may be overly complex for navice learners
  • 4C design (I think) has to do with individual learners self directing task. The concept is base don a) students take responsibility for learning b) assess strengths and weaknesses of performance c)select learning tasks that offer best opportunity to improve
  • 4CID = a) learning tasks b) supportive information c) procedural information 4) part-task practice
  • Monitoring – the student gauges progress against the final goal
  • Evaluating – assessing the results of the task
  • Planning – adjusting the tasks based on evaluation
  • “IN order t promote reflection on past performance, learners receive whole and meaningful assessment right from the start of an educational program. Such tasks ask learners to assess the quality of their performance in relation to agreed standards so that they can formulate readjusted or new learning needs.”
  • Self assessment comes slowly, as in the students first get an example to assess themselves against, then a rubric, then independent
  • It is helpful to divide tasks into classes, from lower to higher order
  • 360 degree feedback – allow the students and teacher and selves to assess their work
  • Peer assessment allows students to justify their assessment givin g them better insight into the criteria

1 Comment

  1. Devin, You mentioned you want to work on Captivate for 2019-20. Remember to identify this by categorising your blog. LInk with instructions here:

    I will be interested to see if you can enroll more ‘non-art minded’ students next year.

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