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Measuring cognitive load and cognition: metrics for technology-enhanced learning

Martin, Stewart


Stewart Martin


This critical and reflective literature review examines international research published over the last decade to summarise the different kinds of measures that have been used to explore cognitive load and critiques the strengths and limitations of those focussed on the development of direct empirical approaches. Over the last 40 years, cognitive load theory has become established as one of the most successful and influential theoretical explanations of cognitive processing during learning. Despite this success, attempts to obtain direct objective measures of the theory's central theoretical construct – cognitive load – have proved elusive. This obstacle represents the most significant outstanding challenge for successfully embedding the theoretical and experimental work on cognitive load in empirical data from authentic learning situations. Progress to date on the theoretical and practical approaches to cognitive load are discussed along with the influences of individual differences on cognitive load in order to assess the prospects for the development and application of direct empirical measures of cognitive load especially in technology-rich contexts.


Martin, S. (2014). Measuring cognitive load and cognition: metrics for technology-enhanced learning. Educational Research and Evaluation, 20(7-8), 592-621.

Online Publication Date Jan 21, 2015
Publication Date Nov 17, 2014
Deposit Date Oct 20, 2016
Publicly Available Date Oct 20, 2016
Journal Educational research and evaluation
Print ISSN 1380-3611
Electronic ISSN 1744-4187
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 20
Issue 7-8
Pages 592-621
Keywords Cognitive load; Working memory; Measurement; Multimedia; Technology; Learning; Learning analytics
Public URL
Publisher URL
Copyright Statement ©2016 the author
Additional Information This is the author's accepted manuscript of an article published in: Educational research and evaluation, 2015, v.20 issue 7-8.


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