Cognitive Load Theory Explained for Presentations

presentation design Mar 31, 2021

The best presenters respect their audiences. They showcase this level of respect by understanding one critical element: cognitive load theory. What is it?

Cognitive load theory (CLT) implies that our brains can only retain so much information. In other words, our working memory is limited and our brains do have a certain ceiling when presented with new information. The human brain need to time to digest and sort through the new material and when maxed it has officially hit its cognitive load. This load is made up of three demands: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. Let's tackle each one separately.

The Intrinsic Load (Level of Difficulty)

Have you ever noticed that some content is easy to learn while other subject matter is difficult? For instance, learning a chord or two on the guitar may be easy but playing like Jimi Hendrix is difficult. That's because playing multiple notes while mixing in certain other elements like guitar pedals is a bit more complex. Hendrix's style of...

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