Episode 108 Applying how students learn - Collaborative Tasks and Cognitive Load

Season #4

Discover how collaborative tasks can be used to reduce students' cognitive load and deepen their learning. As we continue to look at how students learn and applying this in our classroom this episode brings together cognitive load theory and collaborative tasks.


How to create collaborative tasks to maximise the advantage on cognitive load:

  • complex enough to justify the collaborative approach, if not the “extra collective working memory” leads the group members to become distracted and the learning does not happen.
  • The collaborative task should have guidance and support. This can include group roles, topics to focus on, and scaffolds.
  • The group requires good collaborative skills. If the students don’t generally collaborate well or have these skills it will cause an increase in cognitive load and distractions.
  • The fewer members in the collaborative task the better. 3 is probably the ideal number. more than this causes an increase in cognitive load and a decrease in learning.
  • The more the group has worked together the better the collaborative task will be at decreasing cognitive load and increasing the learning happening.

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