Session S11 (Sunday, 2pm, Thomas 118)

P65: Implementation and assessment of cognitive load theory based questions in an electronic homework and testing system

Charles Atwood (University of Utah, USA), Derek Behmke (University of Georgia, USA)

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) attempts to minimize short-term memory load while maximizing the memory available for transferring knowledge from short-term to long-term memory. Our implementation of CLT components into the JExam electronic homework system attempts to minimize intrinsic and extraneous load by breaking down multistep problems into smaller, individual steps for students.  Using the static fading approach over several questions, students integrate all the steps to solve the entire problem. Using Item Response Theory abilities, we compared performance of student using the CLT static fading approach to that of students without the CLT components.  On seven out of eight topics, students exposed to CLT component homework questions scored higher on subsequent test questions related to that topic than those not exposed to CLT.  In four out of the eight cases, students exposed to CLT based homework questions improved their chances of correctly answering related test questions by greater than 10%.

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