Weekly Digest #89: Cognitive Load

Weekly Digest #89: Cognitive Load

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) has been formative in educational practice and indeed has been argued to be “the single most important thing for teachers to know” (see tweet below). While we understand the theory, we do not pretend to be experts in it, so today we provide cognitive load resources from others, some of whom are experts and some of whom have done the research and provide excellent applications of the theory.


1)      “Not a Theory of Everything”: On Cognitive Load Theory and the Complexity of Learning by Michael Pershan @mpershan

Michael Pershan provides this essay examining CLT as it applies to mathematics education. This essay is loaded with the history of CLT and explains how it has been interpreted over time. The right hand navigation makes it easy to skip to the sections that will be most relevant for you, but we suggest reading all of it!


2)      Cognitive Load Theory and Applications in the Classroom by Blake Harvard @effortfuleduktr

Blake Harvard gives a brief overview of CLT and then discusses how his classroom environment and instruction have been adapted to reduce the load on his students.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay


3)      Four Ways Cognitive Load Theory Has Changed my Teaching by Greg Ashman @greg_ashman

Greg Ashman provides some additional insights into how cognitive load can be reduced in the classroom. He adds that many good teachers probably do these things naturally, but for a new teacher or a teacher new to the idea of cognitive load, these ideas are practical and effective.


4)      Cognitive Load Theory Unsuitable for Accelerated Practice? by Mirjam Neelen @MirjamN & Paul Kirshner @P_A_Kirschner

Paul Kirschner is one of the pioneers of CLT research. In this article Neelen & Kirschner consider a new theory of accelerated practice and how the principles of CLT still apply to this more specified domain.

Image from Pixabay

Image from Pixabay


5)      My Brain Hurts: Cognitive Load Theory and Handoffs by Holly Caretta-Weyer

Here we are providing an example of far transfer of CLT. Holly Caretta-Weyer explains how CLT applies to a unique setting – Emergency Medicine – and how important it is when one team needs to hand off patient care to the next team.

Every Sunday, we pick a theme and provide a curated list of links. If you have a theme suggestion, please don’t hesitate to contact us! Occasionally we publish a guest digest, and If you'd like to propose a guest digest click here. Our 5 most recent digests can be found here:

Weekly Digest #84: Deliberate Practice

Weekly Digest #85: Adjunct Questions

Weekly Digest #86: How to Reduce Exam Stress

Weekly Digest #87: Encouraging Moral and Ethical Behavior

Weekly Digest #88: Psychological Misconceptions in Movies and TV Shows