Woman holding her head with information overload

Critical Discoveries about Learning

More Information
Does Not Mean More Knowledge

Information processing requires resources and that means for the brain to understand it has to carry out work, This is why you cannot simply increase the information you present to people and hope to see a corresponding linear increase in their ability to learn.

“Cognitive Overload” is the term used by scientists studying the brain when too much information causes the individual to become overwhelmed and to reduce or stop learning altogether. 

There are two main ways to reduce cognitive overload and these are known as the “Quantitive Method” and the “Qualitative Method”  – let’s have a look at the differences.

Quantitative
This method involves simply controlling the amount of new information delivered. You allow the recipient to understand most of what they are being taught before presenting new information. This can involve introducing a summarised version of new information and then waiting a short period before repeating and presenting more data. The brain of the learner absorbs the new information in smaller volumes but beings to develop a deeper understanding of the subject as more layers are presented. 

Qualitative 
For this method, you change the way information is presented so that it is less overwhelming for the learner to digest. Using flashcards can assist with cognitive load and help boost confidence that information is retained and hardwired into memory. This reduced cognitive load
ensures that the learner does not see any new information on flashcards until they are fully understanding what has already been seen. Ensuring that the cognitive load doesn’t get too high, will help in not feeling overwhelmed.

Remember: Do not present so much information that you overwhelm the brain

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