Unit 3: Activity 1 – Are We Overloaded Yet?

My group the DeeGees chose to explore the modality of video curated libraries through the instance of Lynda.com. It was a great experience to go through a course with not just the mindset of learning the material, but also learning about how the delivery worked as well (or not work). We each focused on our own issues (for myself, cognitive load theory), and set out on our exploration.

Cognitive load in itself is a very complex topic with varied effects due to multimedia. I’ve learned that there are a multitude of combinations of how video learning can be established mixing video, audio, text, animations, frames, points of focus, and many other factors. Each combination can in itself provide a rich learning experience, but have a negative effect on a learner’s cognition.

Key to most successful video and multimedia courses and modules seems to be a few general rules. Some potential solutions to cognitive overload include choosing audio over visuals when possible, providing breaks between videos, removing extraneous material, and avoiding duplication (Mayer & Moreno, 2003).

Of course this is only a sampling of remedies to cognitive load effects. The more I read into cognitive load theory, the more intricate I find how every learning environment will have different cognitive load effects. In short, course design needs to be conscious of the learner and the content being learned. What is the best way to transfer the knowledge? Keeping it simple seems to be an age old saying. There’s no need to be flashy and try to use every visual effect. Sometimes less is more and you know what, the learner may actually remember what the instructor was trying to teach rather than just their floating head.



Mayer, R. E., & Moreno R. (2003). Nine Ways to Reduce Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning. Educational Psychologist, 38(1), 43-52, https://doi.org/10.1207/S15326985EP3801_6

2 thoughts on “Unit 3: Activity 1 – Are We Overloaded Yet?

  1. Hi George,
    Correct me if I am wrong, but on previous projects in other courses you have focused on cognitive load theory? Are you planning on using this as part of your focus for your final research project/thesis?
    Also, you mention that “course design needs to be conscious of the learner and the content being learned. What is the best way to transfer the knowledge?” Do you have any resources or websites you can share that provides some guidance in strategies for effectively transferring knowledge for a beginner in regards to this?

    1. Hi Steve, yes I have looked at cognitive load theory in the past (I believe in a group with you as well :)). It was always an interest of mine because I felt the effectiveness of online delivery for lessons at my organization really needed to have some learning theory behind it. We know that a 1 hour lesson face to face will have different dynamics when compared to a 1 hour video. As I’m sure you’re well aware, teachers can move around and interact as the lesson proceeds versus a static video. The cognitive load therefore would be different and needs to be addressed.

      As I flip through my articles, one that catches my eye is on declarative and procedural knowledge. Declarative knowledge simply put is the ‘what’ knowledge (e.g, facts, theory, names, etc.). Procedural knowledge simply put is the ‘how’ knowledge (e.g., how to swim, drive, play soccer, etc.). Hong, Pi, and Yang (2018) found that depending on the type of knowledge you want to teach, having the instructor present in your video can have varying effects on cognitive load. They concluded that having the instructor visible in the videos was effective for learning in declarative knowledge but increased cognitive load for procedural knowledge.

      From my reading, I’ve found that the common denominator has been to keep things simple (as mentioned in my post). Shorter videos and focusing on a single or couple of related concepts are good strategies to employ. Also, making sure that students have a sufficient background in the content that they are about to explore further has come up as well. Since I’m not an instructor, you probably know better than me the importance of knowing your students and content. If I find more to share, I’ll be sure to send it along your way.

      Hong J., Pi, Z., & Yang, J. (2018) Learning declarative and procedural knowledge via video lectures: cognitive load and learning effectiveness. Innovations in
      Education and Teaching International, 55(1), 74-81. https://doi.org/10.1080/14703297.2016.1237371

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