How sequencing content and fading instructional support reduce extraneous processing
Both sequencing content and fading instructional support are scaffolding techniques designed to make it easier for learners to process information. While sequencing content separates problems into manageable parts before problem-solving, fading of instruction gradually reduces instructional support before problem-solving. Although cognitive load research generally supports the notion that both of these techniques minimise extraneous processing, some research shows that they contribute to an increase in cognitive load under certain circumstances. This study seeks to bridge the gap in the research by examining the relationships that both techniques have with extraneous cognitive load. The results obtained through survey analysis of university students taking online courses show that sequencing content and fading instruction over the course of a semester had a negative relationship with extraneous load. These results are explained against the backdrop of conflicting research, and recommendations are presented to reduce extraneous processing within the learning environment.