Better teaching: Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

The fundamental idea of cognitive load is that humans have a limited capacity for holding information in our working memory.
Website dedicated to Cognitive Load Theory Link
A list of papers related to this topic Link From
"I’ve started to create some sketchnotes of the book Cognitive Load Theory. Here are three sketchnotes of the first two chapters." Link Created by Oliver Caviglioli
Four ways cognitive load theory has changed my teaching Link Blogpost at
Cognitive Load Theory – “the single most important thing for teachers to know” Link Blogpost at
The quote is by Dylan Wiliam
Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not
Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist,
Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and
Inquiry-Based Teaching

pdf of a paper published in the Educationalist Psychologist
It's a pretty damning commentary on Inquiry-based learning
Paul A. Kirschner, John Sweller, Richard E. Clark

Putting students on the path to learning: the case for fully guided instruction Link

A paper by Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark published in American Educator.
pdf format taken from


Worked-example effect    

The origins of cognitive overload
Is it better to do worked examples on the board or get students to do the probem-solving themselves?

Link It all depends . . .
'Story of a research program'. John Sweller outlines how his ideas developed over time. pdf. From

Learners who study worked examples perform significantly better than learners who actively solve problems

Link From Wikipedia
Cognitive Load Theory is More Than Worked Examples Link Blogpost from
The Difference Between Solving a Problem and Learning Some Math From It Link Blogpost from
The basic skills in any subject need to be 'automatic' Link First three minutes of this clip from Dr. Helen Abadz.YouTube
“Should Problem Solving Be Used as a Learning Device in Mathematics?” Their answer was unambiguously, “No"   Taken from the video above. "The quality of learning was the same whether students learned via worked examples or self-discovered solutions. The major difference was time – problem solving took a lot of it
A critcism of CLT    
Cognitive Load Theory: Failure? Link By Doug Holton at
“Not a Theory of Everything”: Debating the Limits of Cognitive Load Theory Link Essay by Michael Pershan
Why floundering is better than direct instruction
Trying to figure something out on your own before getting help actually produces better results than having guidance from the beginning
The key is to choose problems "that are challenging but not frustrating". From Annie MurphyPaul