Improving information retention in the medical classroom by the innovative application of the Cognitive Load Theory
Association for Medical Education in Europe Annual Meeting
Association for Medical Education in Europe
PowerPoint, created in 1987, is now ubiquitous in medical classrooms around the world. PowerPoint is typically utilized with students reading large amounts of written information, and simultaneously hearing verbalization of the same information. The theory of cognitive load, pioneered in the 1980s by Professor John Sweller, indicates that the human brain processes and retains more information if it is digested in either its verbal or written form, but not both at the same time. Yet; simultaneous presentation of verbal and written information is the pedagogical strategy often utilized in today’s medical classroom. An innovative pedagogical strategy is implemented and studied. Students spend the first 15 minutes of a typical 50 minute lecture, studying a uniquely prepared written study guide that covers all of the information for the particular objectives. In the next 20 minutes, a PowerPoint verbal presentation minimizes written bullet points, maximizes images and employs Socratic interaction with the students. During the remaining 15 minutes, the students reinforce long term retention of the objectives by re-studying the study guide.
Talford, D., & Domenech Rodríguez, M. M. (2016, August). Improving information retention in the medical classroom by the innovative application of the Cognitive Load Theory. Poster presented at the annual meeting of the Association for Medical Education in Europe. Barcelona, Spain.