Measuring Cognitive Load - A Solution to Ease Learning of Programming
Commenced in January 2007
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Measuring Cognitive Load - A Solution to Ease Learning of Programming

Authors: Muhammed Yousoof, Mohd Sapiyan, Khaja Kamaluddin


Learning programming is difficult for many learners. Some researches have found that the main difficulty relates to cognitive load. Cognitive overload happens in programming due to the nature of the subject which is intrinisicly over-bearing on the working memory. It happens due to the complexity of the subject itself. The problem is made worse by the poor instructional design methodology used in the teaching and learning process. Various efforts have been proposed to reduce the cognitive load, e.g. visualization softwares, part-program method etc. Use of many computer based systems have also been tried to tackle the problem. However, little success has been made to alleviate the problem. More has to be done to overcome this hurdle. This research attempts at understanding how cognitive load can be managed so as to reduce the problem of overloading. We propose a mechanism to measure the cognitive load during pre instruction, post instruction and in instructional stages of learning. This mechanism is used to help the instruction. As the load changes the instruction is made to adapt itself to ensure cognitive viability. This mechanism could be incorporated as a sub domain in the student model of various computer based instructional systems to facilitate the learning of programming.

Keywords: Cognitive load, Working memory, Cognitive Loadmeasurement.

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