Cognitive Load During Problem Solving: Effects on Learning

  title={Cognitive Load During Problem Solving: Effects on Learning},
  author={John Sweller},
  journal={Cogn. Sci.},
  • J. Sweller
  • Published 1 April 1988
  • Psychology
  • Cogn. Sci.
Considerable evidence indicates that domain specific knowledge in the form of schemas is the primary factor distinguishing experts from novices in problem-solving skill. Evidence that conventional problem-solving activity is not effective in schema acquisition is also accumulating. It is suggested that a major reason for the ineffectiveness of problem solving as a learning device, is that the cognitive processes required by the two activities overlap insufficiently, and that conventional… 

Figures and Tables from this paper

Cognitive load and the acquisition of a problem solving skill
Experimental evidence was found that the cognitive load imposed by a weak problem solving activity can retard the acquisition of a problem-solving skii!.
Problem Solving and Learning
One finding of cognitive research is that people do not automatically acquire usable knowledge by spending lots of time on task. Because students’ knowledge hierarchy is more fragmented, “knowledge
Some cognitive processes and their consequences for the organisation and presentation of information
Abstract It has been known for a considerable time that when dealing with complex intellectual tasks, the Limited processing capacity of working memory is critical. Nevertheless, many commonly used
Facilitating Flexible Problem Solving: A Cognitive Load Perspective
The development of flexible, transferable problem-solving skills is an important aim of contemporary educational systems. Since processing limitations of our mind represent a major factor influencing
Empirical Investigation of Cognitive Load Theory in Problem Solving Domain
The experimental results were consistent with preceding studies, showing that extraneous cognitive load is harmful to the learning process, but the effects of intrinsic load are subject to debate.
Quantitative Problem Solving in Science: Cognitive Factors and Directions for Practice.
This paper presents an overview of how a number of cognitive factors are involved in the solving of quantitative problems by secondary school stu­ dents categorized as skilled and less skilled.
The management of cognitive load during complex cognitive skill acquisition by means of computer-simulated problem solving.
This study compared the effects of two information presentation formats on learning to solve problems in electrical circuits and hypothesized that learners in the integrated format would achieve better test results than those in the split-source format.


The Use of Worked Examples as a Substitute for Problem Solving in Learning Algebra
The knowledge required to solve algebra manipulation problems and procedures designed to hasten knowledge acquisition were studied in a series of five experiments. It was hypothesized that, as occurs
Discrimination of operator schemata in problem solving: Learning from examples
Expertise in Problem Solving.
An examination of the shift from consideration of general, domain-independent skills and procedures, in both cognitive psychology and artificial intelligence, to the study of the knowledge base shows the importance of differences in the knowledge bases of experts and novices to their problem solving success.
Acquisition of cognitive skill.
A framework for skill acquisition is proposed that includes two major stages in the development of a cognitive skill: a declarative stage in which facts about the skill domain are interpreted and a
Control mechanisms in problem solving
It is suggested that altering a problem solver’s major source of information from a goal to feedback or vice versa will have important implications for the course of problem solving and what is learned during the solution process.
The act of discovery.
The active participation in the learning process by the child might result in the following hypothesized benefits: an increase in intellectual potency so as to make the acquired information more
Consequences of history-cued and means–end strategies in problem solving.
There are two broad processes that people can use when attempting to solve a problem. The first of these is a means-ends strategy in which attempts are made to reduce differences between a given
Chunking in recall of symbolic drawings
It is proposed that skilled subjects identify the conceptual category for an entire drawing, and retrieve elements using a generate-and-test process, and that severe constraints are placed on any explanation of the data based on guessing.
Individual differences in secondary task performance
The purpose of this research was to use secondary task performance as a predictor of performance on a difficult primary task. Reaction time (RT) to secondary probes that occurred during the rehearsal