121 - Minimize the Noise: Methods and Examples to Reduce Cognitive Load

Monday, May 10, 2021
Instructional Design

Because of the cognitive load limits of learner's memory, we're only able to focus on and learn a finite number of any given items on a screen, slide, or page. And thus, the old adage is true; a picture speaks a thousand words. So, the problem for most instructional designers is finding balance. Balance in content. Balance in graphics. Balance in motion and placement. How can instructional designers tap into what the learner already knows in order to create an engaging learner experience?

In this session we'll discuss how cognitive load plays an integral a part in what people learn and retain information.  How instructional designers can tap into the previous learner knowledge in order to have a richer learning experience. And how to best find the balance of giving people the information they need without overloading them. You will be shown how the three levels of memory play a key role in learning and how to use each memory level effectively. You'll start with a brief baseline discussion about what exactly cognitive load is and why it's important to consider in instructional design. Next, you'll learn simple and effective techniques to maximize the learning experience and increase learning retention, including how to control the learner's eye movements, properly highlight key points, and stimulate the brain functions to maintain a high level of learner engagement. You'll also take a look at how things like animations, color, placement of texts and graphics, and more can be used to reduce cognitive load. Finally, you'll take what you've learned and apply it by investigating several real examples that illustrate cognitive overload problems and discussing what corrections you would make in order to reduce the load.‬‬

In this session, you will learn:

  • How each level of memory works
  • How to tap into long term memory
  • Techniques to reduce cognitive load
  • Real world example of do's and don'ts
  • Techniques to guide the learner through the content

Technology discussed:


Tim Kozlowski, Learning Experience Designer - Freelance

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