John Sweller

University of New South Wales


Without an Understanding of Human Cognitive Architecture, Instruction is Blind
Our knowledge of human cognition has advanced substantially over the last few decades. That knowledge has considerable implications for instructional design but is almost unknown among instructional designers. Cognitive load theory is an instructional design theory based on our knowledge of human cognition. The theory uses the evolutionary bases of human cognitive architecture to devise instructional procedures. In turn, those procedures are tested using randomized, controlled trials. In this talk I will describe those aspects of human cognition that are relevant to instruction and briefly describe some of the instructional implications that follow.


John Sweller is an Emeritus Professor of Education at the University of New South Wales. His research is associated with cognitive load theory. The theory is a contributor to both research and debate on issues associated with human cognition, its links to evolution by natural selection, and the instructional design consequences that follow. Based on many hundreds of randomized, controlled studies carried out by many investigators from around the globe, the theory has generated a large range of novel instructional designs from our knowledge of human cognitive architecture.