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Self-management as a Bridge Between Cognitive Load and Self-regulated Learning: the Illustrative Case of Seductive Details

Abstract

The main goals of this paper are to exemplify and further elaborate on the theoretical connections between cognitive load and self-regulated learning. In an effort to achieve this, we integrate the concepts of self-control and self-management within the effort monitoring and regulation (EMR) framework laid out by de Bruin et al. (Educational Psychology Review this issue). More specifically, we argue that (1) cognitive load results from how the instruction is processed and not just from how it is designed (cf. self-management effect). (2) How instruction is processed by students (also) depends on their skill and will to self-control. For instance, high self-control may reflect compensatory processing of poorer instructional designs so that these designs may not lead to higher extraneous cognitive load. As soon as students’ willingness to self-control declines (e.g., with increasing study durations or previous demanding tasks), there is a closer link between (poorer) instructional designs and (higher) extraneous cognitive load in self-regulated learning tasks. Combining (1) and (2), we consider cognitive load to be influenced by self-control; (self-)control, in turn, is one central process of the monitoring-control cycle that characterizes self-regulated learning. We support these theoretical arguments by referring to empirical research in the domain of learning with multiple representations—with a particular focus on learning with and without seductive details during extended study episodes. We conclude with suggestions for further research.

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Funding

This research is funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG), grant number: 395562182. Grant awarded to Alexander Eitel and Alexander Renkl.

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Eitel, A., Endres, T. & Renkl, A. Self-management as a Bridge Between Cognitive Load and Self-regulated Learning: the Illustrative Case of Seductive Details. Educ Psychol Rev 32, 1073–1087 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10648-020-09559-5

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Keywords

  • Self-regulated learning
  • Cognitive load
  • Self-control
  • Self-management effect
  • Seductive details effect
  • Redundancy effect