Cognitive load theory
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Professor John Sweller, Professor Paul Ayres and Professor Slava Kalyuga

This book looks at the application of cognitive load theory (CLT) to learning. According to CLT, the limitations of working memory in the learning of new tasks, together with its ability to cooperate with an unlimited long-term memory for familiar tasks, enables people to deal effectively with complicated problems and acquire highly complex knowledge and skills.

The various authors suggest that without knowledge of cognitive processes instructional processes are blind. In contrast, knowledge of how we learn, think and solve problems – human cognitive architecture – can provide us with a coherent, unifying base that can be used to generate instructional hypotheses and data.

CLT was developed as a theory of instructional design, based on our knowledge of human cognitive architecture. Cognitive load theory consists of aspects of human cognitive architecture that are relevant to instruction along with the instructional consequences that flow from it. 

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Professor John Sweller, Professor Paul Ayres and Professor Slava Kalyuga

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Date of publication:
March 2011

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This academic book examines cognitive load theory and how its cognitive architecture is relevant to teaching, looking at the instructional consequences that flow from the theory. It may interest educators who are keen to explain the theory and science behind learning. 


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R388 / 495
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