How to Avoid Cognitive Overload in eLearning Courses


Firstly, what is cognitive overload?

Cognitive overload is based on cognitive load theory, a theory within educational psychology and information processing. Basically this theory says that our brain can only process so many new things at once, so better instruction should intentionally target our existing knowledge and recognise the limits of our working memory.

Okay, sounds simple right? Let’s go into a little more depth about was this means…

It is widely accepted knowledge that our memory is broken up into ‘working memory’ and ‘long term memory’. Our working memory is where new information is held briefly for processing during a learning activity. Our memories are then transferred into short term and then, into long term memory. Our long term memory consists of many different information groups or collections called schemas. Schemas are where we went our learning content to end up.

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