Problem-solving support and instructional sequence: impact on cognitive load and student performance
In terms of instructional sequencing and cognitive load research, it remains unclear what effect different instructional sequences have on cognitive load and how to use problem-solving support within instructional sequences to reduce cognitive load. The current study examines how instructional sequencing and problem-solving support interact with different types of cognitive load and learner performance. University students (n = 254) were randomly assigned to one of three conditions: an explicit instruction first sequence, an unsupported problem-solving first sequence, and a supported problem-solving first sequence. Results show that intrinsic load did not differ across the three conditions, extraneous load was lowest in the explicit instruction first and supported problem-solving first conditions, germane load was highest in the supported problem-solving first condition, and performance was highest in the explicit instruction first condition. Providing insight into specific ways instructional sequencing and problem-solving support can reduce cognitive load; results suggest that either problem-solving activities need support or explicit instruction is needed before problem-solving.