The 5 key principles that underpin CLT:
A - Architecture: the cognitive architecture of human memory - looking at how our memory works, the different types of memory we have, how they are different and what influences them (environment, working memory, long-term memory). For more information see my previous post here.
B - Biology: Biologically primary information (knowledge that we have evolved to acquire, can not be taught - basic social functions, such as ability to speak/listen/recognise faces...unconscious, effortless) and biologically secondary information (knowledge that has become relevant only in last few thousand years, such as academic subjects taught at school...conscious, effortful).
C - Categorisation: Categorisation of intrinsic load (core learning we want our student's working memory to be occupied with) and extraneous load (extrinsic - represents the manner and the structure of the instruction, takes attention away from core learning) - we need to reduce this load. Both loads cannot exceed the capacity of working memory if we want learning to occur.
D - Domains: a field in which an individual can develop from novice to expert. Domain-general knowledge (biologically primary knowledge) refers to general capabilities, transferable across range of task such as problem-solving, communication, creativity, teamwork, domain-specific knowledge (biologically secondary knowledge) refers to knowledge within specific subject such as languages, maths, arts...
E - Elements: Element interactivity - for learning to take place a number of elements have to be considered in working memory and then incorporated into long-term memory. The more elements of new information a student has to think about and process in working memory during a task and the more complex the relations between these elements are, the number of interactions the more challenging the task will be - this is described as 'elemental interactivity' - source of all cognitive load.
We can reduce the extraneous load by:
- eliminating unnecessary or replicated information - CLT suggests that using spoken (listen) and written (read) input simultaneously or using images + written word could be classed as redundant. However, we have to be cautious when it comes to languages!!!
- avoiding split-attention effect - integrating the necessary information together in space and time.
- modality effect - by presenting new vocabulary via auditory and visual channels in tandem we can eliminate visual split-attention.
- using dual modality to eliminate split-attention - if both pieces of information which need to be combined are presented in visual form there will always occur a delay when students look at the first piece of information and then at second piece before integrating them. Therefore, if we present one piece visually and second one is pronounced/spoken aloud, so that students can hear it, the two pieces can be truly presented simultaneously and split-attention can be eliminated completely. (See below)