in which all conscious cognitiveprocessing occurs, can handle only a very limited num-ber—possibly no more than two or three—of novel interact-ing elements. This number is far below the number of interacting elements that occurs in most substantive areas of human intellectual activity. Alone, working memory wouldonly permit relatively trivial human cognitive activities.
provideshumanswiththeabilitytovastlyexpand this processing ability. This memory store can con-tain vast numbers of
—cognitive constructs that in-corporate multiple elements of information into a singleelement with a specific function.Schemascanbebroughtfromlong-termtoworkingmem-ory.Whereasworkingmemorymight,forexample,onlydealwith one element (e.g., a cognitive load that can be handledeasily), that element may consist of a large number of lowerlevel, interacting elements. Those interacting elements mayfarexceedworkingmemorycapacityifeachelementhadtobeprocessed. Their incorporation in a schema means that onlyone element must be processed. If readers of this article aregiventheproblemofreversingthelettersofthelastwordofthelastsentencementally,mostwillbeabletodoso.Aschemaisavailableforthiswrittenwordalongwithlowerlevelschemasfortheindividuallettersandfurtherschemasforthesquigglesthat make up the letters. This complex set of interacting ele-ments can be manipulated in working memory because of schemasheldinlong-termmemory.Theautomationofthoseschemas so that they can be processed unconsciously furtherreducestheloadonworkingmemory.Itisbythisprocessthathuman cognitive architecture handles complex material thatappears to exceed the capacity of working memory.CLT is concerned with the instructional implications of thisinteractionbetweeninformationstructuresandcognitivearchitecture. As well as element interactivity, the manner inwhich information is presented to learners and the learningactivities required of learners can also impose a cognitiveload. When that load is unnecessary and so interferes withschema acquisition and automation, it is referred to as an
Extraneous cognitiveload is a second category of cognitive load. Many conven-tional instructional procedures impose extraneous cognitiveload because most instructional procedures were developedwithoutanyconsiderationorknowledgeofthestructureofin-formation or cognitive architecture. For example, any in-structionalprocedurethatrequireslearnerstoengageineithera search for a problem solution or a search for referents in anexplanation(i.e.,whenPartAofanexplanationreferstoPartB without clearly indicating where Part B is to be found) islikely to impose a heavy extraneous cognitive load becauseworking memory resources must be used for activities thatareirrelevanttoschemaacquisitionandautomation.Thearti-cles in this special issue are concerned with this second cate-gory of cognitive load, extraneous cognitive load, and,indeed, cognitive load theorists spend much of their time de-vising alternative instructional designs and procedures thatreduce extraneous cognitive load compared to convention-ally used procedures.Extraneouscognitiveloadisprimarilyimportantwhenin-trinsic cognitive load is high because thetwo forms of cogni-tiveloadareadditive.Ifintrinsiccognitiveloadislow,levelsof extraneous cognitive load may be less important becausetotal cognitive load may not exceed working memory capac-ity. As a consequence, instructional designs intended to re-duce cognitive load are primarily effective when elementinteractivity is high. When element interactivity is low, de-signs intended to reduce the load on working memory havelittle or no effect.Thelastformofcognitiveloadis
Like extraneous cognitive load and unlike intrin-sic cognitive load, germane cognitive load is influenced bythe instructional designer. The manner in which informationis presented to learners and the learning activities required of learners are factors relevant to levels of germane cognitiveload. Whereas extraneous cognitive load interferes withlearning, germane cognitive load enhances learning. Insteadofworkingmemoryresourcesbeingusedtoengageinsearch,for example, as occurs when dealing with extraneous cogni-tive load, germane cognitive load results in those resourcesbeing devoted to schema acquisition and automation. Notethat increases in effort or motivation can increase the cogni-tiveresourcesdevotedtoatask.Ifrelevanttoschemaacquisi-tion and automation, such an increase also constitutes anincrease in germane cognitive load.Intrinsic, extraneous, and germane cognitive loads are ad-ditiveinthat,together,thetotalloadcannotexceedthework-ing memory resources available if learning is to occur. Therelationsbetweenthethreeformsofcognitiveloadareasym-metric.Intrinsiccognitiveloadprovidesabaseloadthatisirre-ducible other than by constructing additional schemas andautomating previously acquired schemas. Any availableworking memory capacity remaining after resources havebeenallocatedtodealwithintrinsiccognitiveloadcanbeallo-cated to deal with extraneous and germane load. These canworkintandeminthat,forexample,areductioninextraneouscognitive load by using a more effective instructional designcanfreecapacityforanincreaseingermanecognitiveload.If learning is improved by an instructional design that reducesextraneous cognitive load, the improvement may have oc-curredbecausetheadditionalworkingmemorycapacityfreedbythereductioninextraneouscognitiveloadhasnowbeenal-locatedtogermanecognitiveload.Asaconsequenceoflearn-ing through schema acquisition and automation, intrinsiccognitive load is reduced. A reduction in intrinsic cognitiveloadreducestotalcognitiveload,thusfreeingworkingmem-ory capacity. The freed working memory capacity allows thelearnertousethenewlylearnedmaterialinacquiringmoread-vancedschemas.Anewcyclecommences;overmanycycles,very advanced knowledge and skills may be acquired.Such alterations in expertise also have profound instruc-tional implications that were realized in the late 1990s. Until
PAAS, RENKL, SWELLER