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The importance of Cognitive Load Theory (CLT)

Lecturer and SET Fellow Dan Williams explains why there is one learning theory he feels all teachers should be aware of...

Dan Williams Blog 1

[Blog abstract]

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) - coined in 1988 by John Sweller, suggests that our working memory is only able to hold a small amount of information at any one time and that instructional methods should avoid overloading it in order to maximise learning (Sweller, 1988).

Why have I chosen this theory?

We’ve all been in learning sessions where the teacher has whizzed through the content, leaving us with little to remember. We’ve also been in sessions where the content is so complex that we leave more confused than when we entered. CLT goes some way to explaining why this happens and what we, as teachers, can do to maximise the learning of individuals within our classrooms.

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