<  Back

201 Minimize the Noise: Methods and Examples to Reduce Cognitive Load

1:00 PM - 2:00 PM
Wednesday, April 20

Tracks: Instructional Design

In the information age, it’s believed more is better. However, when it comes to learning we often find the opposite: less can be more. Due the cognitive load limits of a 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.

In this session we’ll discuss how cognitive load plays a part in how people learn and retain information, and how to best find the balance of giving people the information they need without overloading them. 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 look at how features 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 to reduce the load.

In this session, you will learn:

  • Why cognitive load is an important consideration
  • Techniques to minimize cognitive load
  • Techniques to engage learners more effectively
  • Striking the right balance between content and graphics

Tim Kozlowski

Learning Strategist

TK Learning Strategies

Tim Kozlowski is a freelance learning experience designer. Previously he was a technical courseware developer at Palo Alto Networks. He has been in the training and instructional design field for seven years. Tim’s main focus is technical learning design in corporate education and he has developed and designed technical training for internal as well as external customers. He is currently working on his EdD in educational psychology, studying neuroscience, learning analytics, and cognitive load.