It is important for educators to be mindful about the cognitive load that they put on their students. Students learn better when they can manage cognitive load effectively. For an effective learning process, one must reduce extraneous cognitive load, manage intrinsic cognitive load, and promote germane cognitive load. It is important for educators to consider these three steps when implementing the Readiness Assurance Process (RAP) in a TBL classroom.
Here are some best practices that educators can implement to reduce cognitive load for their students when implementing the readiness assurance process:
- Reduce extraneous cognitive load
Extraneous cognitive load is used to describe the cognitive effort put forth for things that do not contribute to direct learning. By reducing extraneous cognitive load, students are able to process new information better. When crafting questions for the Individual Readiness Assurance Test (IRAT), Team Readiness Assurance Test (TRAT) or Application components, educators should eliminate irrelevant information so that students are able to focus better on the question. Educators should also consider highlighting key information by attaching graphics to guide students to pay attention to them. The graphics should also be placed near to the text so that students have an easier time referring to them when answering questions.
Here is an example on InteDashboard:
- Manage intrinsic cognitive load
Intrinsic cognitive load indicates the inherent difficulty of the learning task, which occurs due to the complexity of new information. Intrinsic load can be reduced in several ways when implementing RAP. Educators should present information in small segments, according to the students’ pace of learning. Students will be able to process information better this way. Educators should also introduce key terms and principles beforehand. These key terms and principles can be included during the prework component of TBL or reiterated in the questions.
- Promote germane cognitive load
Germane cognitive load is used to describe the cognitive effort deliberately used by the learner to process information for long-term storage. To promote germane cognitive load, educators should encourage students to draw diagrams when discussing complex concepts during the TRAT or Application component. Additionally, when students request clarification from their instructor, present to the class, or discuss the answers to RAP questions, they should talk in a conversational, rather than formal, manner. According to the personalization principle, people learn better when words are in a conversational style rather than a formal style (Mayer, 2009).
Preparing the right format of prework for students is also important to reduce cognitive load. Keep a lookout for our next blog post to learn more!