A page of reading links and resources related to Cognitive Load (particularly in Science teaching). See also Mastery links and Memory and Retrieval links plus general Cog Sci links on Cognition in Science 2017 links page.
Thanks to Adam Boxer, Deep Ghataura and Rosalind Walker for helping to compile the core links on this page. What have we missed? Tweet us, leave a comment, or tell us via this form
- Very clear and readable summary of what CLT is (and why to use it) Dan Williams (FurtherEdagogy)- Cognitive Load Theory
- A useful summary of CLT with a range of links Greg Ashman – Cognitive Load Theory – “the single most important thing for teachers to know”
- How do we ensure that we avoid “the dangers of overloading practical lessons with too much for learners to take on”? Here David Paterson gives an example of how learning can be broken down to better support understanding: Practical Work and Cognitive Load
- “Children often find it difficult to solve problems in the classroom, which can lead to silly errors being made. But are these mistakes made because of carelessness? Or is there another reason to explain why this occurs?” Greg Ashman- Why students make silly mistakes in class (and what can be done)
- Adam uses two real-life situations (Bar Mitzvah prep and midwives delivering babies) to expain why he believes deliberate rehearsal is valuable Adam Boxer- In praise of Off by Heart
- “As science teachers, we need to be careful not to think that children see practical work the way we do, but if we ever lose the joy then it’s time to do something else.” Dodiscimums- Practical- the fallacy of induction
- Pritesh Raichura explains how he teaches equations, and outlines his reasoning (drill, interleaving, modelling) Bunsen Blue – Equations in Science and how his department assessment model has evolved to take into account ideas from cognitive science Evolution of Our Science Assessment Model: CogSci & Christodoulou
Blog posts – Dual coding
- Here, a teacher explains how and why they introduced Dual Coding and the (very positive) effect it had on student interaction and learning Effortful Educator – Dual Coding in the Classroom
- Blog post about dual coding with some clear, practical examples Bunsen Blue – Dual Coding in Science
- A cautionary note from the Learning Scientists “…presenting information to students as words and visuals can help them learn… However, if a student experiences cognitive overload trying to process all of the information in a meaningful way, then dual coding can harm learning.” Learning Scientists – Dual Coding: can there be too much of a good thing?
Blog posts- Ben Rogers
Ben has written thoughtfully and extensively about Reasearch-informed teaching in Science (and more generally). I’ve summaried a few examples here.
- Main site- includes a number of posts on Cognitive load and Science Teaching
- Using worked examples to reduce cognitive load in Physics
- What are the Cognitive Loads of reading and how can we reduce them?
- Ben Rogers – Shakespeare and Physics: Cogntive Psychology and Writing
- My experience with ‘goal-free’ – a Cognitive Load Theory strategy
- If you want it here, don’t put it there (Wall displays, formula sheets and placemats…)
Articles and reports
- And article about Working memory from the Scientific American Working Memory: How You Keep Things “In Mind” Over the Short Term
- This page lists Daniel Willingham’s articles on cognitive processes, including this one about why transfer is hard: Inflexible Knowledge: The First Step to Expertise
- Brief summary of Willingham articles: Eric Nelson – Willingham’s Columns: Cognitive Science for Educators
- Beautiful sketchnote summary of SWELLER, AYRES, KALYUGA, 2011 (Springer): Cognitive Load Theory Oliver Cavilioli – How2
- Another Oliver Caviglioni summary: COGNITIVE LOAD THEORY: SRINGER, AYRES, KALYUGA, 2001, SPRINGER
- Article from Education in Chemistry Seery (2012) – Jump-starting lectures
- Clark makes the case for Guided Instruction Clark et al., – Putting Students on the Path to Learning -the Case for Fully Guided Instruction
- Caviglioni- Cognitive Load Theory- chapter summaries (summarised here by Dan West)
- Article by John Sweller that describes the evolution of the theory from the first few experiments Story of a Research Programme .
- Rosenshone’s summary of Direct Instruction Rosenshine – Five Meanings of Direct Instruction
Dylan William explaining Cognitive Load Theory in 5 minutes/20 slides at 2017’s Wisconsin Math Council conference
- Cowan (2010) – The Magical Mystery Four: How is Working Memory Capacity Limited, and Why?
- Kirschner et al. (2006) – Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work:
- Kuhn (2007) – Is Direct Instruction an Answer to the Right Question?
- Chandler, P. and Sweller, J. (1991). Cognitive Load Theory and the Format of Instruction.
- Chandler, P. and Sweller, J. (1992). The split-attention effect as a factor in the design of instruction.
- Sweller, J. (1988). Cognitive Load during Problem Solving: Effects on Learning.
- Hmelo-Silver et al. (2007) – Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning: A Response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006)
- Ping and Goldin-Meadow (2010) – Gesturing saves cognitive resources when talking about non-present objects
- Anderson et al. (1996) – Working Memory: Activation Limitations on Retrieval
- Kim et al. (2017) – Explaining the Gap: Visualizing One’s Predictions Improves Recall and Comprehension of Data
Resources and Exemplars
What have we missed? Tweet us, leave a comment, or tell us via this form
Practical resounrces from the Learning Scientists can be downloaded here.
Examples and Exemplars
- Slides from a talk by Michael Seery to Edinburgh teachers 2017:
2. Worked example from Dan Williams’ blog post
3. Examples of Dual Coding from this blog post by Bunsen Blue
4. Ways to reduce intrinsic load in the classroom
5. David Paterson (Chemistry subject specialist at OCR) gives ideas on how to break ideas down in practical lessons to aid greater understanding in this blog: Practical work and cognitive load