Cognitive Constraints in Selected Instructional Approaches and Materials in the Philippine Public Schools

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Cognitive Constraints in Selected Instructional Approaches and Materials in the Philippine Public Schools

Juan Jr Espina

Introduction
Instructional designers now days focus on strategies on how to improve instructional methods by eliminating the barriers of learning considering that the human brain is limited in the amount of information that it can process (Miller, G., 1956). According to Clark,R., Nguyen, F. and Sweller, J. (2006), human cognitive load may be enhanced through eliminating extraneous cognitive load such as split-attention and redundancy effects and reinforce learning with dual-modality, imagination and cueing or signalling, fading, worked example, goal-free effects to effectively gain desirable learning outcomes. Furthermore, Cooper, G. (1998) believes that in designing quality instructional materials, the role and limitation of working memory should be given greater consideration.

In the Philippines, there is no single empirical research which shows how cognitive overload affect students’ efficiency in learning. Various instructional supervisors, textbook evaluators and curriculum designers focused on the content, grammar and competencies rather than the effective use of the instructional materials. Although, many countries today regarded Cognitive Science as a vital discipline in dealing with learners’ mental processes, memory and solving problems ( Cooper, G. ,1998), the Philippines remains traditional in designing instructional materials and its approaches in teaching.

Therefore, this essay argues that the Philippine Public Schools’ instructional approaches and materials do not conform to Cognitive Science and therefore need to be improved. Furthermore, this essay defines the term Cognitive Load Theory and its effect to learning; discusses the efficacies of instructional materials and procedures using Cognitive Load Theory; critically discusses the causes and effects of cognitive overload to learning; describes and analyses different examples of instructional Cognitive Load effects in the Philippines as perceived in Albor Central Elementary School; and, proposes ways towards improving instructional designs What is Cognitive Load Theory and how it affects learning?

The study of Cognitive Load Theory is regarded as important to consider in designing instructions and learning materials at present. Instructional designers should look into ways how the learning materials as well as instructional approaches help students learn effectively without overloading the mental capacity of the students. Since the brain of every human being is limited according to Miller, G. (1958), it is therefore very indispensable to all instructional designers as well as instructional supervisors to gain knowledge about Cognitive Load Theory. Clark, R., et al. (2006), defines Cognitive Load Theory as a “universal set of learning principles that are proven to result in efficient instructional environments as a consequence of leveraging human cognitive learning processes”(p.7). It suggests that well-designed instructional devices may enhance effective learning (Chandler, P. and Sweller, J. (1991). Moreover, Cognitive Load Theory is describes as a “ structure of learning in terms of an information processing system involving long term memory, which effectively stores all our knowledge and skills on a more-or-less permanent basis and working memory, which performs the intellectual tasks associated with consciousness” ( Sweller, J. 1988;1994; Cooper, G., 1998, p.1). Moreover, Sweller, J. Merrienboer, J and Paas, F. (1998), states that “working memory can be equated with consciousness”(p.252). “Working memory is the part of human’s mind that provides consciousness. It is the vehicle which enables human to think both logically and creatively to solve problems and to be expressive”(Cooper, G., 1998,p. 5). It is the working memory that direct individuals’ attention to process information perceived through the sensory...
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