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Cognitive Load Theory

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What is Cognitive Load Theory?

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) proposes that for students to think hard about the material we teach but without overloading their working memory capacity.

The theory, developed by John Sweller explores how that working memory – the part of our mind that processes what we are currently doing – can only deal with a limited amount of information at one time. This also has potential pedagogical implications, and to learn more about CLT, listen to John Stanier’s Dartmoor Dispatch podcast by clicking here.

The Education Endowment Foundation note a couple of consequences when considering cognitive load with metacognition, especially in terms of making sure we don’t overburden our students working memory.

The theory identifies three different forms of cognitive load:

  1. Intrinsic cognitive load: the inherent difficulty of the material itself, which can be influenced by prior knowledge of the topic
  2. Extraneous cognitive load: the load generated by the way the material is presented and which does not aid learning
  3. Germane cognitive load: the elements that aid information processing and contribute to the development of ‘schemas’.

See the UKEdChat session 472 that explored CLT

cognitiveloadtheory.txt · Last modified: 04/10/2019 08:43 by digicoled