Impacts of Cognitive Load on Student Learning

Presenter: Amy Ort, Instructional Designer, Center for Transformative Teaching

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This video explains aspects of course design that can contribute to cognitive overload as well as simple things instructors can do to reduce the cognitive load of their students.


Being cognitively overloaded can negatively impact the ability of students to demonstrate their learning.


  • Use a clear and consistent organizational structure for your course materials.
  • Give detailed instructions for all assignments.
  • Scaffold challenging projects or papers by breaking them into smaller chunks.
  • Minimize barriers that may prevent students from getting help.

Recommended Resources

This Google Doc worksheet is designed to help instructors examine aspects of their courses that may cause unnecessary cognitive load

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