During the latest two decades, a vast amount of great research has dealt with the question of how cognitive load and learning can be optimized when we encourage or stimulate generative learning activities. For instance, the benefits of drawing have attracted much attention. However, much of this research has focused on high school or university students, and the few studies in elementary school reveal mixed results at best, which seems surprising given that drawing in general is among the favorite activities of children. This keynote will go into more detail with the question of how drawing and other generative learning activities can be used to enhance children’s learning, reduce their cognitive load and keep their enthusiasm about the knowledge they are about to gain.
Maria Opfermann is a postdoctoral researcher and lecturer at the University of Wuppertal. Her activities are focused on multimedia learning, self-regulation and, surprisingly, cognitive load. She has contributed to research on cognitive load measurement (especially the question, when cognitive load should be assessed), generative learning activities such as drawing and the role of decorative pictures for learning. As part of the elementary school department, she is now especially interested in ways to optimize learning and cognitive load for very young learners.
An innovative development of cognitive load theory suggests that human cognition operates like evolution, as both are biological information systems that follow five principles. This development of cognitive load theory has notable potential, as evolution is a robust theory that can inspire analogies to explain phenomena of human cognition and learning. But despite this possibility of enriching cognitive load theory, the analogy between human cognition and evolution has not been given enough attention. This presentation will describe likely explanations for this relative apathy, including that the analogy is not straightforward. Simpler and novel analogical links will be provided, ideally inspiring cognitive load theory researchers to mirror evolution phenomena into human cognition and learning.
Juan C. Castro-Alonso (Cris Castro) is Associate Researcher at the Center for Advanced Research in Education, Universidad de Chile. He is a Biochemist, Masters in Communication and Education, and PhD in Education. His interests are visuospatial processing and spatial ability, cognitive load theory, STEM and biology education, gender differences, and multimedia learning. He is leading an investigation on how cognitive load and learners’ characteristics affect performance on visuospatial processing.
In this presentation Fred discuss several recent cognitive load research topics, such as self-management of cognitive load and working memory resource depletion. Based on these topics and the results of an inventory among cognitive load experts the key areas for future CLT research will be identified and discussed.
Fred Paas is professor of Educational Psychology at the Department of Psychology, Education and Child Studies of Erasmus University Rotterdam in the Netherlands, and professorial fellow at the School of Education/Early Start of the University of Wollongong in Australia. In his research he has been using cognitive load theory to investigate the design of effective and efficient learning environments by applying contemporary, multidisciplinary scientific knowledge about the human cognitive and physical system. He is the editor-in-chief of the journal Educational Psychology Review, and fellow of the American Educational Research Association.