Emergency Medicine Resident/Flight Physician University of New Mexico EMS Consortium Tijeras, New Mexico
As far back as the 1950s, education professionals have been aware that humans possess a finite working memory. Over time, these ideas have been shown to have broad implications for developing instructional material and teaching problem solving, thinking, and reasoning. There is a strong body of evidence in the areas of cognitive psychology and neurophysiology that supports presenting educational materials in a particular manner. Yet, educators don’t always heed this information. We often unintentionally overload students with information or present material in a way that imposes extraneous cognitive load, thus reducing retention. This lecture reviews the theory of cognitive load and how we can optimize our educational material, improve comprehension, and maximize retention of important information in emergency medicine and critical care transport. Learners are presented with the 5Ts - five evidenced based recommendations - that they can apply immediately to improve their educational material.
Recognize the discrete nature of working memory
Understand the theory of cognitive load and how it applies to EMS education
Realize how we can accidently overload students, unintentionally distract them, and unwittingly make it harder for them to learn
Comprehend basic strategies and methods for reducing cognitive load when teaching