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Intrinsic Cognitive Load


Intrinsic cognitive load is the result of inherent complexity of the information which needs to be processed. For example, when translating a number of words intrinsic cognitive load is quite small, but when translating same number of words forming part of a sentence intrinsic cognitive load is higher since not only meanings of individual words, but also their relations must be analyzed.

Still, it should be noted that there is no objective measure of element interactivity, since what exactly will be considered as an element depends on learners existing schemata and how developed and automatized they are. Unlike a novice, an experienced learner with an appropriate schema will be able to manipulate multiple elements and their relationships as one and will therefore experience reduced element complexity and intrinsic load.1)


Earlier it was considered that intrinsic cognitive load

  • cannot be manipulated through instructional design without changing nature of the task or compromising understanding.2)

Still, recent findings suggest it is possible to reduce intrinsic cognitive load using techniques like

  • simple-to-complex sequencing3),
  • modular presentation of solution procedures4), or
  • simplified whole tasks5).
research_results/intrinsic_cognitive_load.txt · Last modified: 2012/01/12 11:42 (external edit)