Problem-solving support and instructional sequence: impact on cognitive load and student performance

Jamie Costley, Anna Gorbunova, Matthew Courtney, Ouhao Chen, Christopher Lange

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

In terms of instructional sequencing and cognitive load research, it remains unclear what effect different instructional sequences have on cognitive load and how to use problem-solving support within instructional sequences to reduce cognitive load. The current study examines how instructional sequencing and problem-solving support interact with different types of cognitive load and learner performance. University students (n = 254) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: an explicit instruction first sequence, an unsupported problem-solving first sequence, and a supported problem-solving first sequence. Results show that intrinsic load did not differ across the three conditions, extraneous load was lowest in the explicit instruction first and supported problem-solving first conditions, germane load was highest in the supported problem-solving first condition, and performance was highest in the explicit instruction first condition. Providing insight into specific ways instructional sequencing and problem-solving support can reduce cognitive load; results suggest that either problem-solving activities need support or explicit instruction is needed before problem-solving.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Journal of Psychology of Education
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2023

Keywords

  • Cognitive load
  • Direct instruction
  • Instructional sequence
  • Problem-solving
  • Worked examples

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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