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Cognitive Load Theory & Explicit Instruction


  • In-Person

  • Online Recorded

  • ZOOM Live

Cognitive load theory is viewed as one of the most important concepts for teachers to understand as it impacts the way in which we interact, design, and assess students. The course is suitable for all teachers who are interested in building on their knowledge of working memory theory and developing skills in how to teach students when classroom learning imposes a significant load.

Learning Areas:

  • Emotional resilience

  • Healthy emotion regulation 

  • Teacher-student relationships as a tool for enhancing student wellbeing



1.2.2 – Structure teaching programs using research and collegial advice about how students learn.

The content will provide research and evidence-based strategies for examining how students learn within the classroom. It will further explore the impact teacher instruction has on the structure and implementation of programming.

1.5.2 – Develop teaching activities that incorporate differentiated strategies to meet the specific learning needs of students across the full range of abilities.


The course will examine the importance of differentiation and explicit instruction in order to meet the needs of all students. This is done by examining the role cognitive load theory and working memory have on the design and implementation of material.

3.1.2 – Set explicit, challenging, and achievable learning goals for all students.

The content will explore how cognitive load theory fits into explicit instruction and how understanding the learning needs of the individual can lead to all students achieving desirable outcomes.

Rationale for Course

Cognitive load theory is concerned with teaching learners in a manner that is compatible with human cognitive architecture (Paas, Tuovinen, Tabbers, & Van Gerven, 2003; Paas, Renkl, & Sweller, 2004; Sweller, 1999). The cognitive architecture used by the theory places its emphasis on the role of working memory in the creation and storage of information in long-term memory for subsequent use. Cognitive load theory consists of that human cognitive architecture along with the instructional processes generated by the architecture. Based on this architecture, the function of learning is to store information in long-term memory that can be used to direct activity. If nothing has been stored in long-term memory, nothing has been learned.