Cognitive Load Theory (CLT): the secrets to exam success revealed through best practice advice and clear explanation of the evidence

'Understanding is memory in disguise' - D Willingham

Steve Garnett

Steve Garnett has been a teacher for 24 years. He has delivered INSETs to over 7,000 teachers over the past 10 years in the UK, Ireland and across Europe, the Middle East and the Far East. Teachers who have attended Steve's courses have regularly described them as 'inspirational'. trainer profile

CLT has recently been described by Professor Dylan Wiliam as “… the single most important thing for teachers to know” and is rapidly becoming education’s next ‘Big Thing’. This is some claim, so it is right that teachers will want to know more about it and more importantly how they can adapt their classroom teaching to take it into account.

This course will share what is involved in CLT and more importantly how it impacts of pupil performance in the classroom. Specific classroom-based teaching ideas will be offered so as to avoid the so-called ‘overload’ and therefore allow pupils to learn more effectively.

An understanding of CLT has huge implications for improving exam results as well as deepening pupil knowledge and recall. After all, ‘understanding is memory in disguise’ (D Willingham)

Full Course Content

Course Outcomes:

  • Gain a clear and deep understanding of ‘memory’, ‘understanding’ and CLT
  • Acquire a set of ready-to-use classroom strategies
  • Develop an understanding of the pitfalls and poor practice that should be avoided
  • Gain in-depth knowledge of how to use these techniques over the whole of a term / year / key stage

Course Outline:

Session 1:

What Cognitive Science is telling us about memory / understanding

Intrinsic load and how to reduce it in the classroom

Extraneous load and how to reduce it in the classroom

Germane load and how to reduce it in the classroom

Session 2:

Techniques to maximise long term retention

Dual coding and how to do it - it’s easier than you think!

Retrieval practice and how to set it up as part of lesson routines

Interleaving and how it can boost exam success

Session 3:

Accumulating and automating knowledge schema

What is a Knowledge Organiser and why are they so important?

The Do and Don't of using Knowledge Organisers

Next steps and how to make the most impact in your school