CLT: Rehitorical eassy
[Document subtitle]
The purpose of this paper is to describe CLT and its major implications for learning. To
achieve this objective, the paper includes a short description of human cognitive architecture as conceived by cognitive load theorists. Following this overview, this paper provides a description of what makes CLT different from other cognitive theories. Next, the paper presents a discussion of learner experience and how different levels of prior knowledge can interact with various instructional methods to differentially influence learning outcomes. Finally, the paper ends with a brief description of an experiment designed to assess the role of learner experience in CLT. I had a very difficult time writing this considering my first draft got deleted and I had to completely start over. I feel like I covered everything.
October 9, 2016

October 9, 2016

Amber Mileski
Papia Bawa
English 111
9 October 2016
Cognitive Load Theory: Rhetorical Essay
Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) provides a framework for designing complex instructional materials. The basic premise of CLT is that learners have a working memory with very limited capacity when dealing with new information (Sweller, van Merrienboer, & Paas, 1998). However, CLT assumes that learners have an "effectively unlimited long-term memory holding cognitive schemas that vary in their degree of complexity and automation" (van Merrienboer & Ayres, 2005, p. 6). The implication of these assumptions is that learning will be hindered if instructional materials overwhelm a learner's limited working memory resources. Accordingly, early CLT research focused on identifying instructional designs that can effectively reduce unnecessary cognitive burden on working memory, thereby supporting improved learning efficiency (van Merrienboer & Sweller, 2005). More recently, cognitive load theorist have shifted their attention to how learner characteristics, such as prior knowledge and motivational beliefs interact with instructional designs to influence the effectiveness of CLT methods (Moreno, 2006).
Components of Human Cognitive Agriculture
Working Memory
According to Sweller et al (1998), humans are only conscious of the information currently being held and processed in working memory and are essentially oblivious to the enormous amount of information stored in long-term memory. Next, when handling new information, working memory is severely limited in both capacity and duration. That is, working memory can only hold about seven (plus or minus two) items or chucks of information at a time (Miller,1956). Additionally, when processing information (organizing, contrasting, and comparing) rather than just storing it, humans are probably only able to manage two or three items of information simultaneously, depending on the type of processing required (Kirschner, Sweller, & Clarck, 2006). Finally, new information held in working memory, if not rehearsed, is lost within about 15 to 30 seconds.
Another important characteristic of working memory is that its capacity is distributed over two, partially independent processors (Sweller et al,1998). This dual-processing assumption is based in part on Pavio's (1986) dual coding theory and Baddeley's (1998) theory of working memory, both of which suggest that there are two separate channels for processing visual and auditory information. The implication of this dual-processing model is that limited working memory capacity can be effectively expanded by utilizing both visual and auditory channels rather than either processing channel alone (Sweller et al,1998).
Different Types of Cognitive Load
Although schemas are stored in long-term memory, their construction occurs in working memory. Specifically, when learning new material, students must attend to and manipulate relevant pieces of information in working memory before it can be stored in long-term memory (Sweller et al.,1998). Consequently, of primary importance to cognitive load theorists is the ease with which information can be processed in working memory; that is, the cognitive load imposed on working memory. According to CLT, there are three different types of cognitive load that can be distinguished.
Intrinsic cognitive load refers to the number of elements that must be processed simultaneously in working memory for schema construction (element interactivity). Element interactivity is dependent on both the complexity of the to-be-learned material and the learners' expertise. (i.e., their schema availability and automaticity; Gerjets & Scheiter, 2003). Stated another way, "intrinsic cognitive load through element interactivity is determined by an interaction between the nature of the material being learned and the expertise of the learners." (Sweller et al., 1998, p. 262).
Extraneous cognitive load - also known