Instructional Approaches That Reduce Cognitive Load

Author: Dr. Milton J. Dehn
Published on Schoolhouse Educational Services: November 20, 2023 (Original Copyright: 2016)

Reducing and managing cognitive load is an effective way of supporting working memory functioning and enhancing learning and performance in the classroom (de Jong, 2010). Reducing the processing demands in the learning environment will help impaired students overcome the working memory limitations that are impacting their learning (Elliott, Gathercole, Alloway, Holmes, & Kirkwood, 2010). The extent of cognitive load during any learning task depends on the teacher’s instructional methods, the learner’s internal processes, and the nature of the content and structure of the materials (van Gog, Ericsson, Rikers, & Paas, 2005). When teachers learn to better recognize the specific cognitive load variables within each of these three areas, they can more effectively design instruction and select curriculum to minimize load. They also will be able to more effectively teach students how to better manage their internal cognitive load.

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