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Cognitive Load Theory, Spacing Effect, and Working Memory Resources Depletion: Implications for Instructional Design

Cognitive Load Theory, Spacing Effect, and Working Memory Resources Depletion: Implications for Instructional Design
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Author(s): Ouhao Chen (Nanyang Technological University, Singapore) and Slava Kalyuga (University of New South Wales, Australia)
Copyright: 2020
Pages: 26
Source title: Form, Function, and Style in Instructional Design: Emerging Research and Opportunities
Source Author(s)/Editor(s): Shalin Hai-Jew (Kansas State University, USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-9833-6.ch001

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Abstract

In classroom, student learning is affected by multiple factors that influence information processing. Working memory with its limited capacity and duration plays a key role in learner ability to process information and, therefore, is critical for student performance. Cognitive load theory, based on human cognitive architecture, focuses on the instructional implications of relations between working memory and learner knowledge base in long-term memory. The ultimate goal of this theory is to generate effective instructional methods that allow managing students' working memory load to optimize their learning, indicating the relations between the form of instructional design and the function of instructional design. This chapter considers recent additions to the theory based on working memory resources depletion that occurs after exerting significant cognitive effort and reverses after a rest period. The discussed implications for instructional design include optimal sequencing of learning and assessment tasks using spaced and massed practice tasks, immediate and delayed tests.

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