In a study that aimed to empirically investigate the “pause effect” on cognitive load and performance, researchers gave medical students the ability to pause a simulation of an emergency medical situation while tracking their pupil sizes. (“Since pupil dilation is controlled by the autonomous nervous system, it reveals some aspects of cognitive load that subjective ratings cannot capture,” p. 9.) Participants also self-reported their cognitive load before, during, and after the exercises. About half of the learners didn’t use the pause button, even when overloaded, which is consistent with previous studies that found that learners are not able to identify when to pause a video or e-learning module.
This is another study that suggests instructional designers and instructors should help prevent learners’ cognitive overload by segmenting content into chunks for them or pausing for reflection.
Read More (open access)
Lee, J.Y., Donkers, J., Jarodzka, H., Sellenraad, G., & van Merrienboer, J.J.G. (2020). Different effects of pausing on cognitive load in a medical simulation game. Computers in Human Behavior, 110.
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