Revving Up on Cognitive Load
In this post, I’d like to focus our attention on the theory side of things. In particular, a topic whose importance in the eLearning arena was really brought to my attention by a colleague of mine who's helped open my eyes to countless considerations that differ from my background as a traditional secondary educator.
However, one topic that my colleague has helped me to better understand is that of cognitive load.
There has been a great deal of research done on the topic, but in a nutshell, it refers to the amount of information the human brain can effectively process at one time.
And while I knew of it prior to meeting him, I lacked understanding its impact in the eLearning environment. Since Jim’s and my first discussion about cognitive load, I’ve challenged myself to dive into learning more about it, specifically, proactively targeting a learner’s cognitive load while developing eLearning content.
So let’s get started.
There are a variety of terms used with regards to cognitive load theory, but I keep finding myself visualizing it in my mind as a car’s tachometer.
Sure, it’s a metaphor, but conceptually, it aids in the understanding of how/when/why, and to what extent my mind changes gears.
Let’s look at some of my terms:
That leaves us with cognitive up-shift. However, don’t think of this simply as time spent actively learning, but rather, expanding the definition of up-shift to include other stimuli that vie for a learner’s attention, thus adding to his or her cognitive load.
Other stimuli, you ask? That’s right. Things like:
To name a few. Okay so that was more than a few. But really, our cognitive load takes on stimuli from three primary categories – at least while in a work setting, and taking an eLearning course:
That said, I’d like to focus on something that, while I’m certain others have thought about, I didn’t really find anything related to intentionally lessening the cognitive load, or, as I refer to it, down-shifting.
A cognitive down-shift allows learners time to ease up on the gas a bit so they don’t redline, but not too much, so they don’t stall either. Essentially, to keep your learner’s brain working effectively and efficiently through a series of up-shifts and down-shifts.
So the question remains…how does one accomplish this?
There are a variety of methods to incorporate down-shifts (humor, interactivity, etc.), but I really want to point out the importance for developers to be aware of this while developing, by using and relying on Captivate’s timeline. Let it become your development tachometer – how much are you asking learner’s to learn, speedometer – how fast are you asking them to learn it, and odometer – for how long are you asking them to learn.
Until next time, shoot for the stars and BE the YOND!
Testing, Testing. Is This Thing On?
I’ve been an active participant in a popular Captivate 9 forum for nearly a year. While initially perusing the Community, however, I noticed, as with anything really, a variety of users had also chosen to participate - from beginner to the uber-advanced.
So, the purpose of this blog will be to focus on the myriad of features found within Captivate, and extending to topics revolving around all things instructional design. By reading ahead, I take it that you are intrigued if nothing else. I hope to exceed your expectations.
A Bit About Me – My name is Adam Beardslee, and I have been designing and developing content for about five years. However, I’ve been using Captivate 9 for last year or so. My background is in Secondary Education, and I’m a Corporate Trainer/Instructional Designer/Developer. In a nutshell, there’s a good chance that I’m a version of, well, you!
A Bit About this Blog – Each blog will focus (for the most part) on one feature of the system or one topic related to theory. At the end of each blog I’ll post a comment to address any questions readers may have, or quite possibly, pose a challenge for followers to attempt, and reply with their comments.
A Bit About You
In any case, I’m happy you’re here, and I look forward to sharing my thoughts, and tips and tricks with you.
Until next time, shoot for the stars, and BE the YOND!