Efficiency in Learning: Evidence-Based Guidelines to Manage Cognitive Load (with CD) / Edition 1

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Efficiency in Learning offers a road map of the most effective ways to use the three fundamental communication of training: visuals, written text, and audio. Regardless of how you are delivering your training materials_in the classroom, in print, by synchronous or asynchronous media_the book's methods are easily applied to your lesson presentations, handouts, reference guides, or e-learning screens. Designed to be a down-to-earth resource for all instructional professionals, Efficiency in Learning's guidelines are clearly illustrated with real-world examples. This book offers a practical resource for instructional professionals - trainers and educators alike - and shows how to apply the powerful strategies that originate from Cognitive Load Theory, a heavily researched and proven method that brings about more efficient learning and greater ROI for training efforts. Efficient learning environments lead to faster and better learning. In this important book, Ruth Clark, Frank Nguyen, and John Sweller offer guidelines based on more than twenty-five years of research on cognitive load theory that will help you create efficient instructional environments-and they show why they work! Efficiency in Learning offers a road map of the most effective ways to use the three fundamental communication of training: visuals, written text, and audio. Regardless of how you are delivering your training materials-in the classroom, in print, by synchronous or asynchronous media-the book's methods are easily applied to your lesson presentations, handouts, reference guides, or e-learning screens. Designed to be a down-to-earth resource for all instructional professionals, this book is clearly illustrated with real-world examples. Efficiency in Learning guidelines are proven to accelerate learning by helping you avoid common pitfalls such as split attention and redundancy in your presentations and content. In addition, the authors summarize the research evid

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What People Are Saying

From the Publisher
"Sweller's Cognitive Load Theory has emerged as one of the most important and best researched bases for improving design of instruction...provides the first book-length practical design guide to the application of  CLT."
—Rob Foshay, senior vice president, Instructional Design and Research, Whitney University

"Riveting reading for anyone who wants to understand human mental processes and how they influence our behavior."
—Nancy Curtis, instructional designer, Element K

"Provides a distinguished example demonstrating how research findings can be made usable for practitioners."
—Alexander Renkl, professor, Department of Psychology, Educational Psychology, University of Freiburg

"Research on cognitive load theory has yielded many guidelines for the design of effective instruction. This excellent book clearly describes and illustrates those guidelines for practitioners in the field of education and training."
—Jeroen J.G. van Merrienboer, coauthor, Integrated E-Learning

"Nowhere else in book form will you find the guidelines that are here."
—Timothy W. Spannaus, instructional technology, Wayne State University

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780787977283
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 12/16/2005
  • Edition description: BK&CD-ROM
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 416
  • Product dimensions: 7.10 (w) x 9.40 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Ruth Clark is a recognized specialist in instructional design and technical training.   She holds a doctorate in Educational Psychology and Instructional Technology from the University of Southern California. Prior to founding CLARK Training & Consulting, she served as training manager for Southern California Edison. Dr. Clark is a past president of the International Society for Performance Improvement (ISPI) and author of the best-selling e-Learning and the Science of Instruction and Building Expertise, both of which were bestowed the Best Communication Award from ISPI.

John Sweller is the founder of Cognitive Load Theory and it’s most ardent researcher and advocate. The Web of Science records that his work has been cited on over 1,500 occasions — with a rapidly increasing citation rate. He has been published in nearly 70 refereed journals and is the author of the seminal Instructional Design in Technical Areas.  In recent years he has further developed general cognitive theory in the hope that this development can lead to further instructional applications. He has been a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences of Australia since 1993. He currently teaches at the School of Education at the University of New South Wales. He lives in Sydney, Australia.

Frank Nguyen, currently the e-Learning Technology Manager for the Intel eBusiness Training group, is responsible for providing tools and processes to enable online learning for 100+ training developers and 45,000 employees worldwide.  Prior to Intel, Frank worked as a systems engineer for a national computer distributor and built automation systems for several Fortunate 500 companies.  Frank is currently a doctoral student in Educational Technology at Arizona State University focusing on the convergence of eLearning and electronic performance support systems (EPSS).

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Table of Contents

Contents of the CD-ROM.




1. Cognitive Load and Efficiency in Learning.

2. The Psychology of Efficiency.


3. Use Visuals and Audio Narration to Exploit Working Memory Resources.

4. Focus Attention and Avoid Split Attention.

5. Weed Your Training to Manage Limited Working Memory Capacity.

6. Provide External Memory Support to Reduce Working Memory Load.

7. Use Segmenting, Sequencing, and Learner Pacing to Impose Content Gradually.

8. Transition from Worked Examples to Practice to Impose Mental Work Gradually.


9. Put Working Memory to Work with Germane Load.


10. Accommodate Differences in Learner Expertise.

11. Use Rapid Testing to Adapt e-Learning to Learner Expertise.


12. Applying Cognitive Load Theory.

13. The Evolution of Cognitive Load Theory: A Personal Perspective by John Sweller.

Appendix: All About the Numbers.



About the Authors.


List of Figures and Tables.

How to Use the CD-ROM.

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