Direct instruction, worked examples and problem solving: The impact of instructional strategies on cognitive load

Christopher Lange, Anna Gorbunova, Irinia Shcheglova, Jamie Costley*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Research often examines cognitive load as it relates to direct instruction, worked examples and problem-solving combined as an integrated whole. The present study examines these strategies in isolation to see their effect on cognitive load. Using learning materials covering the basics of critical thinking to undergraduate law students (n = 160) at a Russian university, the current study isolated direct ‘example-free’ instruction, worked examples with no instructional explanations and problem-solving free from any form of instruction to examine their effects on cognitive load. Results show that students’ levels of cognitive load differ by condition. Clearly separating instructional strategies in this manner allows for the examination of how learners process information at a particular phase of instruction, and ultimately a more precise and accurate explanation of how specific instructional strategies contribute to cognitive load.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)488-500
Number of pages13
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
Volume60
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2023

Keywords

  • Cognitive load
  • direct instruction
  • instructional strategies
  • problem solving
  • worked examples

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