Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Cognitive load theory for school psychologists: Guest blog post by Walter Howe

This is another post re: cognitive load theory (click here to view prior posts). Walter Howe, Director of Psychological Assessments Australia, has written an nice overview called "Cognitive Load Theory for School Psychologists." The lead intro follows below. If you want to read the entire article (6 pages), click here to view/download the entire pdf file. Thanks to Walter for taking the time to write this brief overview.

If any other folks are interested in making guest blog posts relevant to IQ's Corner...please let me know.

Intro to Cognitive Load Theory for School Psychologists
  • Have you ever done something successfully, but not known exactly how you did it? It’s a common experience. It works, but we generally either cannot repeat this feat readily or transfer this performance to other, similar situations. We have performed a particular task successfully, but we haven’t really learnt a lot.
  • In CLT, this one-off success isn’t learning (in other theories it is regarded as learning, and termed implicit learning or procedural knowledge). Learning only occurs when we have abstracted a series of steps and rules that we can repeat in similar situations or even teach others so they, too, can be successful. These rules and procedures are called schemas or schemata and they are stored in long-term memory. Novices, by definition, either don’t have a schema for a particular learning task or it is very unsophisticated. Experts, on the other hand, have many, very sophisticated schemas, which they apply without thinking (i.e. the application of these schemas has become automatic).
  • CLT is concerned with how we learn or (in CLT terms), how we develop schemas and automate them and become experts. It applies to learning relatively complex material, as schema acquisition and development are generally unimportant for simple tasks, although how simple a task is depends both on the task itself and the individual who is learning how to do it successfully, as you will see

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1 comment:

Liz Ditz said...

Hi Dr. McGrew! I posted snippets from this conversation over at Kitchen Table Math. Stand by for some commentary!