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Keyword of Educational Technology

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Cognitive Load


From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Cognitive Load is a term (used in psychology and other fields of study) that refers to the level of effort associated with thinking and reasoning (including perception, memory, language, etc.).

People learn better when they can build on words and ideas they already understand. The more things a person has to learn at a single time, the more difficult it will be to retain the information in their long term memory.

Consider the difference between having to study a subject in your native language verses trying study a subject in a language that you do not speak fluently. The cognitive load  would be much higher in the second instance because your brain would be working to translate the language while it was trying to absorb the new information being studied.

Another aspect of cognitive load theory involves understanding how many discrete units of information can be retained in short term memory before information loss occurs. An example that seems to be commonly cited of this principle is the use of 7-digit phone numbers, based on the theory that most people can only retain seven "chunks" of information in their short term memory. Refer to Chunking (psychology).

Cognitive Load Theory, as defined by Sweller (1988), states that optimum learning occurs in humans when the load on working memory is kept to a minimum to best facilitate the changes in long term memory.




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