Cognitive Load Theory : The Basic Understanding Of Learning Principles And Theories

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Introduction Information professionals serve individuals as well as communities. Since everyone has their own learning style it is imperative that professionals have a basic understanding of learning principles and theories and understand how they can design instructional programs based on these theories. By having an understanding of learning principles and by having the ability to design programs, information professionals can tailor their actions to better suit their users’ needs.
Cognitive load theory A significant theory to consider when teaching a user or student is cognitive load theory. Cognitive load theory suggests that learning happens best when it is aligned to an individual’s cognitive ability or working memory. Our working memory can only handle a small amount of information or a limited time, by creating schemes we can transfer information from our working memory to our long term memory which can store a lot of information for an indefinite amount of time. There are times when cognitive load is too much for one person, this can happen if too much information is presented or the subject is too complex for the learner. An overabundance of cognitive load can be detrimental to a learner as it does not transfer information to long term memory and can discourage the learner. Every individual has a different cognitive load which means that some people may be able to learn and retain more information than others and vice versa.
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