Take a cognitive load off Annie

David Perkins

What is Cognitive Load? And who is Annie?

Well, you can find more out about ‘Annie' here:

Now that we have a nice soundtrack, we can talk about cognitive load, which is the stress put on a person’s short term memory during complex tasks. Humans are very intelligent but as we know, when we try to multitask anything more than a couple of things, the focus and productivity suffers, or worse yet we become overwhelmed and abandon the task.

In the context of using online applications, this is a critical consideration for an end user’s experience. For example, when a user is presented with an interface to complete a task, or series of tasks, there will be a certain amount of information they will have to store in their memory. In most cases we can’t completely avoid cognitive load, it’s just a matter of managing it. For example an application will inevitably need things like navigation, forms, and other interactions. It’s about how you present these elements that can make or break a great user experience.

Once a user has experienced how an application works, those tasks are memorised, so they can move their focus on to other elements of the application. Put simply, it’s like moving into a new house, having to learn which light switches turn on which lights, and what is in each cupboard. Once you master this you feel more comfortable and focus on the more important things like furnishing the house.

We have designed Go1 with this concept in mind. The experience for a student is intentionally simple. You will realise as you move through the product, from finding a course, to diving in to a module, and then interacting with resources and quizzes, that elements from the interface are quietly wisped away, because they are not relevant for that particular task. If you don’t have account, sign up here to see what I mean.

A focussed learner is a successful learner.

That’s a light introduction to cognitive load. Feel free to ask us more about this. Hopefully this is also useful information when creating your Go1 learning content.


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