Structuring the Transition From Example Study to Problem Solving in Cognitive Skill Acquisition: A Cognitive Load Perspective

Alexander R. Renkl, Robert K. Atkinson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Cognitive load research has shown that learning from worked-out examples, in comparison to problem solving, is very effective during the initial stages of cognitive skill acquisition. In later stages, however, solving problems is superior. In this contribution, theoretical analyses of different types of cognitive load and their changes over the stages of skill acquisition are presented. Two basic arguments are put forth: (a) Intrinsic cognitive load gradually decreases so that a gradual increase of problem-solving demands is possible without inducing cognitive overload. (b) In contrast to the earlier stages, different learner activities during the later stages constitute either germane or extraneous load, because different instructional goals are to be achieved. Based on these analyses, we propose a fading procedure in which problem-solving elements are successively integrated into example study until the learners are expected to solve problems on their own. Empirical evidence supporting this fading procedure is provided, and future research is proposed that focuses on how to ensure that the fading procedure is adaptive to the learners prior knowledge levels.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducational Psychologist
Subtitle of host publicationA Special Issue of educational Psychologist: Volume 38
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Pages15-22
Number of pages8
Volume38
ISBN (Electronic)9781135065812
ISBN (Print)9780805896107
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)

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