In a previous post, I described a simplified model of Cognitive Load Theory. The advantage of the model I presented is that it allows teachers a ready framework from which to make decisions in and before class about how best to optimise their instruction for learning. This post will make more sense if you read that one first, as it concludes with the scheme below:
The image above represents the equation in a very general sense. The cognitive load in practicals is always going to be high. This is why general calls for your students to be “minds on” are not helpful without being provided with a specific mental model for conceptualising the load or techniques for actually minimising it. As such, I would like to propose both a mental model for the load in practicals, as well as some straightforward techniques for reducing it.
Applying our mental model…
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