I had an idea in the 1980s and to my surprise, it changed education around the world

December 13, 2019
By: John Sweller, Emeritus Professor, UNSW

Explicit guidance and feedback from teachers is more effective in teaching students new content and skills than letting them discover these for themselves.

This is a premise of cognitive load theory, which is based on our knowledge of evolutionary psychology and human cognition, including short- and long-term memory.

I started working on cognitive load theory in the early 1980s. Since then, “ownership” of the theory shifted to my research group at UNSW and then to a large group of international researchers.

The theory holds that most children will acquire “natural” skills – such as learning to listen to and speak a native language – without schools or instruction. We have specifically evolved to acquire such knowledge automatically. It is called “biologically primary knowledge”.

Read the full article on The Conversation: https://theconversation.com/i-had-an-idea-in-the-1980s-and-to-my-surprise-it-changed-education-around-the-world-126519

John Sweller, Emeritus Professor, UNSW