Cognitive load theory tells us a great deal about how we learn most effectively. And how we don’t. Teachers are increasingly applying this knowledge to teaching their students. We’ve simply applied this knowledge to help teachers learn new teaching techniques.
HOW2s are designed with cognitive load theory effects in mind. Being visual, explicit and concise, HOW2s avoid the limitations of our working memory architecture. For the busy teacher, being able to learn new teaching techniques in this way is a boon.
When a trainer speaks their words disappear. This means the listener has to use limited working memory resources to process the information in a hurry. This is very inefficient and yet is the default method of so much professional learning. HOW2s avoid this trap by communicating the information in both text and visual format. HOW2s allow for repeated revisits and reviews because they are permanent.
We are all constrained in our learning by the severe limits of our working memory when faced with new material. Dual coding (another term for the modality effect) cheats working memory limits by exploiting the fact that the visual and auditory channels work separately and, consequently, double the information we can take in one instance. HOW2s are a perfect example of the modality effect with their use of integrated text and visuals.
Having to use limited working memory resources dealing with information that has split the visuals from the text is highly inefficient. Indeed, so severe is this handicap that even worked examples have no advantage if presented in a split–attention format. HOW2s are designed to avoid this pitfall. Text is integrated into the infographics and presentations, making learning teaching techniques an efficient and productive experience.
Worked examples are known to be just about the most effective way to learn how to solve problems. They provide us with ready-made schemas we can store in our long–term memory. HOW2s are, in effect, worked examples of teaching techniques by clearly depicting the step-by-step process of the techniques. When teachers come across techniques in this way, they can rapidly learn how the methods work and leave sufficient working memory to process the creation of any adaptations for the classes.
Imagining a process helps you better understand it and integrate it for later use. It speeds up the transfer into long–term memory. Explaining the process to yourself, or another, deepens the understanding of the process still further. Once again, these effects are a natural component of the HOW2s as the clarity of their step-by-step processes aid both imagining putting teaching techniques into action, as well as framing discussions around them.
Brought up on SMART targets, this effect sounds rather counterintuitive. And yet repeated studies show that reducing one’s focus to just the end result limits what is learned. In doing so, principles and rules are missed in the quest to reach the end. HOW2s are not a programme with goals. They are made for teachers to explore and find those best suited to their personal needs and development agenda. Above all, they are neutral in their intention.
Take a feature tour and see what it’s like to use HOW2s.Using HOW2s