I recently read an article titled “20 Facts You Must Know About Working Memory” by the eLearning Coach. I found it very interesting and validating, frankly. The premise is that the human brain can only really hold about 4 pieces of new information at a time in its working memory (formerly called short-term memory). Also, there is a very short window of opportunity to transfer what is new to the working memory into the long term memory. What does this mean to instructional designers and course development?
- Instructional designers need to remember that the working memory has limited capacity. We know this, but we tend to forget it, especially when a client wants to do a robust and creative course.
- Activities need to be integrated into the learning more consistently and regularly rather than just a quiz or end of lesson knowledge check.
It is an interesting article. I think I’ll share it with every client who wants to do a 60-minute long course of new information. Perhaps we will then create a more appropriate and learner-centered course.