Strategies for using simulations as a vehicle to manage cognitive load
AbstractInstructional simulations situate the learner in a psychological reality established within the simulation and engage the learner in guided learning-by-doing activities. Further, simulations have been shown to motivate the learner to engage in deep and experiential learning. However, simulations can increase cognitive load adding to student frustration and limiting the effective learning experience. This paper presents a definition of cognitive load and a discussion of how instructional simulations can help to manage cognitive load. A number of relevant variables are discussed, including scaffolding and learner prior-knowledge. Research is presented documenting the role of these variables when simulations are used to ameliorate cognitive load. The paper concludes with a discussion of the relevance of these questions to Instructional Design.