The Importance of Looking Away

You might have noticed that when you’re talking to someone, it’s often difficult to maintain eye contact. Teachers might have noticed that when children are addressing the class or attempting to answer a challenging question, they will avert their gaze away from their audience. Psychologists call this behaviour gaze aversion and it’s thought to serveContinue reading The Importance of Looking Away

Cognitive Load, emotion and buoyancy

In his 2019 review of twenty years of Cognitive Load Theory, John Sweller explores several avenues of further investigation. One such avenue relates to emotions, stress and uncertainty and how these factors influence cognitive load. Within the education community aspects of cognition in learning are often starkly separated from seemingly non-cognitive factors. Curiously, the formerContinue reading Cognitive Load, emotion and buoyancy

What is Working Memory?

The answer to this question is both very simple and incredibly complex. Simple because it’s very straightforward to demonstrate working memory in action; complex because to fully grasp the nature of working memory we really need to understand how it’s related to other types of memory. Let us then get the easy explanation out ofContinue reading What is Working Memory?

What are non-cognitive skills?

The term non-cognitive skills has become increasingly prevalent within education over the past few years. But what do we actually mean by non-cognitive, how do these skills differ from cognitive ones and is any aspect of learning truly non-cognitive anyway? The roots of non-cognitive skills lie in the writings of sociologists Samuel Bowles and HerbertContinue reading What are non-cognitive skills?

When is a chunk not a chunk?

Chunking describes the process by which individual pieces of information are broken down and grouped together. The process is said to make the recall of information easier because it helps to bypass the inherent limitations of working memory. However, chunking also relies heavily upon long-term memory. Chunking is, therefore, related to another aspect of memoryContinue reading When is a chunk not a chunk?

5 Cognitive Effects

The Generation Effect The generation effect refers to the long-term benefit of generating an answer, solution or procedure versus the relatively poor retention seen in being presented with it. The retrieval of learned information, therefore, is a more effective strategy than, say, re-reading the material because of the cognitive effort required. One study, for example,Continue reading 5 Cognitive Effects

The Myth of 10,000 hours

No, you can’t become an expert after 10,000 hours of practice Often, as children, we are encouraged to believe that if we work hard then we’ll succeed. In reality, this isn’t always the case, yet effort is a major factor in how well we do in the tasks we choose or are given. We can’tContinue reading The Myth of 10,000 hours