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Cognitive load theory is an instructional theory based on the field’s knowledge of human cognitive architecture. The theory is tested empirically when new, theoretically more effective instructional procedures are compared with older, more traditional instruction using randomized, controlled experiments. The results of those experiments can be used to recommend changes in instructional procedures.

In the 1980s and 1990s, cognitive load theory placed its primary emphasis on relations between working memory and long-term memory. In more recent years, the relations between working memory and long-term memory have been placed within a biological, evolutionary context. Evolutionary educational psychology can inform the field which categories of knowledge should be teachable and learnable, and by treating biological evolution as a natural information processing system, light can be thrown on human ...

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