Over the past few weeks we’ve talked about ways in which our cognitive science expertise can be seen in our courses and instructional designs, but we haven’t discussed the details of why. Obviously, the application of principles validated by the most up-to-date research will improve learning, but fully understanding the specific educational barriers that these principles address is essential for healthy implementation. The best example is the Expertise Reversal Effect. Without completely comprehending this concept, poorly designed courses will alienate not just some—but all of your learners. Let’s take a closer look at what happens when Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) is improperly executed in instructional design.
Regardless of the topic, every learner enters into a new lesson with a different level of preexisting knowledge than their fellow students. As instructors, this presents a huge challenge. When creating a new course or program, World Learning Hub has to design one that is equally effective with both beginning and advanced learners. In a previous article we discussed the problem of overloading course participants, but with the Expertise Reversal Effect (ERE) we actually need to worry about “under” loading as well.
ERE is exactly that, a reversal in the effectiveness of instructional design resulting from the excessive application of beginner level cognitive approaches. Strangely enough, repeating preexisting knowledge to advanced learners can actually act as a type of distracting cognitive load that hinders learning when they eventually do encounter new information.
Reviewing prior knowledge of target content being harmful may seem counterintuitive at first, but it’s actually quite simple. When learners have preexisting experiences applying your lesson to real-world situations, they have to cross-reference and incorporate your information with their existing understanding.
So now we see that applying cognitive science principles is not a one-way street to improved learning. World Learning Hub creates content that uniquely engages each learner. Our courses employ several solutions to ERE, including assessments and self-guided exploration that direct participants to the appropriate level of instruction. With these strategies, beginning learners can enter at much lower levels and cover a more verbose flow of information, while advanced learners can display their preexisting knowledge as a key to higher, better suited levels of learning.
Workplace training and compliance shouldn’t be an oversimplified one-size-fits-all design that alienates participants. World Learning Hub has a long and accomplished history of creating engaging and effective courses in a variety of topics. If you have any questions about cognitive science principles and how they’re applied to your content, or about course customisations and promotions, send us an enquiry.