Understanding Cognitive Processes in Educational Hypermedia

Understanding Cognitive Processes in Educational Hypermedia

Patricia M. Boechler (University of Alberta, Canada)
Copyright: © 2006 |Pages: 4
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59140-562-7.ch097
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Abstract

Cognitive load theory (CLT) is currently the most prominent cognitive theory pertaining to instructional design and is referred to in numerous empirical articles in the educational literature (for example, Brünken, Plass, & Leutner, 2003; Chandler & Sweller, 1991; Paas, Tuovinen, Tabbers, & Van Gerven, 2003; Sweller, van Merri¸nboer, & Paas, 1998). CLT was developed to assist educators in designing optimal presentations of information to encourage learning. CLT has also been extended and applied to the design of educational hypermedia and multimedia (Mayer & Moreno, 2003). The theory is built around the idea that the human cognitive architecture has inherent limitations related to capacity, in particular, the limitations of human working memory. As Sweller et al. (pp. 252-253) state: The implications of working memory limitations on instructional design cannot be overstated. All conscious cognitive activity learners engage in occurs in a structure whose limitations seem to preclude all but the most basic processes. Anything beyond the simplest cognitive activities appear to overwhelm working memory. Prima facie, any instructional design that flouts or merely ignores working memory limitations inevitably is deficient. It is this factor that provides a central claim to cognitive load theory. In order to understand the full implications of cognitive load theory, an overview of the human memory system is necessary.

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