Cognitive Load

I was talking to someone the other day and I noticed I mentioned the words “cognitive load” and they looked at me dumbfounded. I explained to them what it meant but made me think, how often do people take this for granted.

The human brain and its ability to perform complex and difficult tasks is what have helped us evolve and thrive. Our job as eLearning professionals is to engage the brain. This in turn will engage the student, allowing them to continue to learn, evolve, grow and change in new and exciting ways. To manage cognitive load, your brain needs to effectively handle the learning input.

A good start is to limit the number of distractions within a unit. Colors, animated graphics, music, narration, video, graphic organizers and other aids can help learners engage in content when used sparingly. Add too much and the learners memory will quickly overload.

Target these elements to areas where you want the learner to focus attention and remove extraneous distractions.

Present the content in order of complexity so start with the simple concepts first in order to scaffold up to more difficult and complex concepts, giving the working memory time to assimilate the new information.

And finally encourage reflection and meta-cognition to move information out of the working memory into long-term memory.

What do you think?

Published by theirishduck

I love the ability where I can plan, prioritise, design, develop and deliver blended learning solutions for a variety of markets. I love to consult and advise about the best use of digital learning and improve design standards in line with evolving ways of working. I also enjoy to keep up to date with, understand and regularly recommend emerging technologies and practice to improve individuals, teams and organisational capabilities. With over 12 years digital learning experience and demonstrated experience in both instructional design and eLearning development, I have also a lot of experience conducting training needs analysis including how to leverage principles such as design thinking and root cause analysis to understand and address performance gaps. I also have led many facilitation workshops and even presented at iDesignX and Game Developers Conferences both here in Australia, Wales and in the United States. I bring loads of coding experience in Java, ASM, C++, HTML, JavaScript, SCORM and xAPI, as well as proven capability using Adobe Captivate, Trivantis Lectora and Articulate Storyline 360 Studio authoring programs. Of course, Adobe Creative Cloud is also part of my toolbox which I also use daily. Being taught traditional and advanced 3D animation techniques, I love hand drawing and polymer clay sculpture, but can also use the Blender, 3D Studio Max, Maya and Softimage applications. With strong multimedia, training and programming backgrounds, I understand modern learner behaviour including micro and social learning, I am very familiar with most LMSes and app-based (XCode and Android Studio), adult learning models and e-solutions. I also possess the ability to manage multiple projects simultaneously, whilst being pro-active in delivering work independently with minimal supervision, but enjoy working in teams. I've been told I am a resilient, relationship focused guy which can manage and navigate conflicting views and stakeholders/subject matter experts.

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