Research on cognitive load theory and its design implications for e-learning

  • Jeroen J. G. van MerriënboerEmail author
  • Paul Ayres
Special Issue


This introduction to the special issue provides a context for the contributing articles. for readers who are not familiar with cognitive load theory (CLT), it provides a very brief description of assumptions regarding memory systems and learning processes, different types of cognitive load (intrinsic, extraneous, and germane), and design implications. Whereas traditional CLT research focused on instructional methods to decrease extraneous cognitive load that is not directly relevant for learning, contributions to this special issue represent wider perspectives that reflect new developments in CLT. These articles have been organized into three categories: (a) methods to decrease intrinsic cognitive load, and deal with high-element interactivity materials, (b) methods to increase germane cognitive load that is directly relevant for learning, and (c) methods to deal with differences in learner's individual levels of expertise and expertise development. To conclude, design implications for (adaptive) e-learning are discussed.


Cognitive Load Instructional Method Work Memory Load Cognitive Load Theory Schema Construction 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Association for Educational Communications and Technology 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Technology Expertise CenterOpen University of The NetherlandsHeerlenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.School of Education at the University of New South WalesAustralia

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