There are two types of cognitive load: helpful and harmful. We call the harmful type extraneous cognitive load and, when we don’t reduce this type of cognitive load, we make it harder to learn. Here are some examples of extraneous (harmful) cognitive load:
- Too much content
- Decorative and irrelevant graphics
- Unnecessary explanations
- Unnecessary media
Stop reading for a moment and think about why these items cause harmful cognitive load, given what I told you about working memory (Really! Try to answer the question before going ahead). Then look at my answer below.
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