Cognitive Load Theory

Commentary on Managing cognitive load—recent trends in

cognitive load theory by Maria Bannert

(University of Koblenz-Landau, Department of General and Educational Psychology, Thomas-Nast-Str.44, 76829 Landau, Germany)

  1. Intrinsic cognitive load (ICL)
  2. Extraneous cognitive load (ECL)
  3. Germane cognitive load (GCL)

New technologies make available new presentation formats (e.g., animation, narration,

and cueing), which should improve learning. But too often computer-based

learning environments are rather cluttered. Thus, the question arises whether the

learner will be unnecessarily mentally overloaded by such formats or techniques, or

in more general terms, by bad design.

The paper of Mayer and Moreno (this issue) presents a review of several empirical

studies investigating different design guidelines for multimedia learning environments.

Based on their cognitive theory of multimedia learning, which relies not only

on CLT but also on dual coding theory and constructivistic learning theory, five

design principles for effective multimedia instructions are recommended which are

fully in line with CLT (except the principle of multiple representation). Since they

all lead to higher learning outcomes one can conclude that they are effective measures

for the reduction of ECL in multimedia instructions.

Bimodal presentation is probably only advantageous in case of system-paced instruction, whereas the visual-only format is probably better for learner-paced instruction, where the earner can compensate higher ECL by scrolling back- and forward in the material.

In the first part of instruction presented to learners, CL was reduced by not presenting the whole information at once; instead individual elements that could be processed serially were offered. In the second part of instruction, however, all information was presented at once and thus had to be processed simultaneously in working memory. In agreement with the authors’ assumptions, this mixed method significantly improved training efficiency and understanding in the long run compared to instructional formats which present all elements of information simultaneously from the very beginning.

The crucial role of adequate design of computer-based learning environments which should rely on the recommended CLT-design principles.

The way to reduce Extraneous cognitive load (ECL)

  1. Contiguity principle
  2. Modality principle
  3. Redundancy principle
  4. Coherence principle

Feedbacks from the workshop in Puerto Natales, 23 April 2019

Notes from Claudio Aguayo

Risk Factors in Patagonia

  • The wind is the worst
  • Cold
  • Rivers growing
  • Stone avalanche when snow melting
  • Bad weather
  • Patagonia is low altitude but a cause of weather we get bad conditions similar to high altitude
  • Patagonia in the last 20 years 3 climbers killed due to rock falls
  • Atacama desert is good for high altitude
  • Most people here climb inside PNTP. If more people were to climb other spots in Patagonia, maybe avalanche risks will be more prominent and common
  • In Chile, Volcán Osorno is the spot with most deaths, and it’s only 2800m and there’s been like 35 deads in the past 20 yrs
  • In Patagonia there’s no rescue team, no helicopter.. Rescue in the park works as a community of friends, WhatsApp group of 30-40 climbers and support between each other
  • In Chile GOPE (Police) takes control of accidents and they even stop local climbers assisting that can be better prepared
  • 50 local climbers in Natales at different levels

Patagonia app needs

  • To have one app for checking all weather conditions. Currently, we have to check like 10 different apps to have an understanding of the weather forecast
  • App to work as an online community where the local community can be in touch and everyone knows who is climbing and what are the latest risks
  • App to work online and offline

Jin VR App idea

  • Training: Basic things to know when going to a high mountain environment
  • Feedback: If an app had a key local info in VR, that would be amazing!

11 Congreso de Investigación Turística de Chile 24 al 26 de abril, 2019 Congreso de Investigación Turística de Chile, data collection and focus group meeting

Attended 11 Congreso de Investigación Turística de Chile 24 al 26 de Abril, 2019.  I presented my research topic on the 25th of April and valuable feedback from local audiences and had initial contacts for further research.

Our group did data collection in Grey Glacia in Torress Del Paine helped by Big Foot mountain guide company. We captured Drone footage, 360 – degree videos, high quality still images of crevasses and glacier serac.


After three days of data collection, we had a focus group meeting with local mountain climbers and guides. They gave us risk factors for climbers in Patagonia. The notorious weather pattern in Patagonia is the main risk factor for all climbers and trampers. They want to learn and understand rapid weather changes in Patagonia using the app. They agreed to try our first prototype app when it is ready and give us feedback.


Drone footage of Grey Glacia

Hallucinatory experiences and summit fever in extreme-altitude climbers

I found that there are several studies of processes occurring during climbing including the cognitive deficit, emotional changes and hallucinations at high altitude.

Peter Brugger (1999) in his article “Hallucinatory experiences in extreme-altitude climbers” insisted that “there is anecdotal evidence for a high incidence of anomalous perceptual experiences during mountain climbing at high altitude” (p. 66).

He had a structured interview with eight high altitude climbers who have reached the altitude above 8500 m without supplementary oxygen. The results from interviews showed that most climbers have hallucinatory experience during climbing at high altitudes, and apart from cerebral hypoxia, social deprivation, physical exhaustion, hypothermia, dehydration, lack of sleep, hypoglycaemia from food deprivation and acute stress seem to play a role in the genesis of these experiences.

Also, many high-altitude climbers have summit fever which is an anticipation to reach the summit disregarding safety, and ethics, among other things. When the climbers get summit fever, it clouds the climbers’ the decision-making process.

Tempest and co-authors (2007) quotes Krakauer’s “Into the thin air” in their article In the Death Zone- A study of limits in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster”

“the sort of individual who is programmed to ignore personal distress and keep pushing for the top is frequently programmed to disregard signs of grave and imminent danger as well. This forms the nub of a dilemma that every Everest climber eventually comes up against: in order to succeed you must be exceedingly driven, but if you’re too driven you’re likely to die. Above 26,000 feet . . . the line between appropriate zeal and reckless summit fever becomes grievously thin. Thus the slopes of Everest are littered with corpses.” (Krakauer, 1997: 233)


Brugger, P., Regard, M., Landis, T., & Oelz, O. (1999). Hallucinatory experiences in extreme-altitude climbers. Neuropsychiatry Neuropsychology and Behavioral Neurology, 12(1), 67-71.

Carol L. Gohm (2001). Personality in Extreme Situations: Thinking (or Not) under Acute Stress. Journal of Research in Personality 35, 388–399 doi:10.1006/jrpe.2001.2321,  available online at

Greig, A. (1985). Summit fever : the story of an armchair climber on the 1984 Mustagh Tower expedition (3375842). London: Hutchinson.

Greig, A. (1997). Summit fever : an armchair climber’s init[i]ation to Glencoe, mortal terror and ʻThe Himalayan Matterhornʾ (1204221, Rev. ed.). Seattle: Mountaineers.

Tempest, S., Starkey, K., & Ennew, C. (2007). In the death zone: A study of limits in the 1996 Mount Everest disaster. Human Relations, 60(7), 1039-1064.


Mountain Safety literature review

There are a few pieces of literature I read in relation to mountain safety in high altitude.

1. Accessibility of mountaineering in high altitude mountain ranges are limited. Michale Apollo insists that for mountaineering, there are two accessibility factors.

  • Destination accessibility (the transport system and the components of infrastructure)
  • Real access – social, economic, weather and psychophysical environments

2. The value of life: Real risks and safety-related productivity

According to Goucher and Horrace, expeditions from 1987 to 2007, deaths can occur for a variety of reasons – avalanches, falls, high altitudes sickness (heart attack, stroke, cerebral edema and pulmonary edema), weather conditions related to death (hypothermia, blindness and frostbites).

“The 32 Everest expeditions in our data faced three-year average frequencies of 6.56 deaths in about 751 lives at risk for a death rate of 0.87%. The point is that deaths are fairly common, so our fatality rates, based on three-year moving averages, are potentially fairly precise”.

3. Lesson learned from avalanche survival patterns

Haegeli and co-authors point out that asphyxia was the most common cause of death during avalanche burial, especially in wetter and denser snow in CMAJ. They report survival curves from data for 301 complete avalanche burials in Canada from 1980 to 2005 and compare them with the standard survival curve derived from Swiss data for 946 complete burials during the same period. It shows that survival of more than 90% of people in the first 15 to 20 minutes of burial, followed by a steep decline in survival of 35% from 20 to 35 minutes of burial. They insist that prompt extrication with 10 minutes is crucial in avalanche survival.

4. Prediction of acute mountain sickness by monitoring arterial oxygen saturation during ascent

Karinen and co-authors found that the climbers who maintain their oxygen saturation at rest, especially with exercise, most likely do not develop AMS. They suggest that daily evaluation of Spo₂ (arterial oxygen saturation) and during ascent both at rest and during exercise can help to identify a population that does well at altitude. The authors recommend that the climbers take R-Spo2 (arterial oxygen saturation at rest) and Ex-Spo2 (arterial oxygen saturation after exercise) measurements to avoid AMS during the ascent.

5. Mountaineering and high mountain adventure tourism

According to Beedie and Hudson (2003), today, mountaineering in high altitude is no longer restricted to experienced mountaineers.  The boundaries between mountaineering and tourism are increasingly blurred due to the diversification and commercialization of mountaineering.

6. Safer mountain climbing using the climbing heartbeat index

Sakai and Nose use CHI (the climbing heartbeat index) to prevent acute mountain sickness (AMS). They developed a method of planning a climb according to the climber’s heart rate and the climber’s fitness level. They believe CHI value takes a very important part in safe mountaineering.

Click to access 10.1007%2Fs00484-003-0167-1.pdf

7. Use of a hypobaric chamber for pre-acclimatization before climbing Mount Everest

Richalet and coauthors recommend the climbers take pre-acclimatization experience before they climb Mt Everest to save 1 to 3 weeks of time in mountain conditions. They found that the pre-acclimatization period showed a 12% increase in hemoglobin concentration and no change in ventilatory response to hypoxia. It shows an efficient ventilatory acclimatization.


Apollo, M. (2017). The true accessibility of mountaineering: The case of the High Himalaya. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism-Research Planning and Management, 17, 29-43.

Goucher, J., & Horrace, W. C. (2012). The value of life: Real risks and safety-related productivity in the Himalaya. Labour Economics, 19(1), 27-32.

Karinen, H. M., Peltonen, J. E., Kahonen, M., & Tikkanen, H. O. (2010). Prediction of acute mountain sickness by monitoring arterial oxygen saturation during ascent. High Alt Med Biol, 11(4), 325-332.

Parati, G., Bilo, G., Faini, A., Bilo, B., Revera, M., Giuliano, A., . . . Mancia, G. (2014). Changes in 24 h ambulatory blood pressure and effects of angiotensin II receptor blockade during acute and prolonged high-altitude exposure: a randomized clinical trial. European Heart Journal, 35(44), 3113-+.

Richalet, J. P., Bittel, J., Herry, J. P., Savourey, G., Le Trong, J. L., Auvert, J. F., & Janin, C. (1992). Use of a hypobaric chamber for pre-acclimatization before climbing Mount Everest. Int J Sports Med, 13 Suppl 1, S216-220.

Sakai, A., & Nose, H. (2003). Safer mountain climbing using the climbing heartbeat index. Int J Biometeorol, 48(1), 15-19.

Simulation theory and simulation-based learning theory

Sensory Stimulation Theory

Traditional sensory stimulation theory has as its basic premise that effective learning occurs when the senses are stimulated (Laird, 1985). Laird quotes research that found that the vast majority of knowledge held by adults (75%) is learned through seeing. Hearing is the next most effective (about 13%) and the other senses – touch, smell and taste account for 12% of what we know. By stimulating the senses, especially the visual sense, learning can be enhanced. However, this theory says that if multi-senses are stimulated, greater learning takes place. Stimulation through the senses is achieved through a greater variety of colours, volume levels, strong statements, facts presented visually, use of a variety of techniques and media.

Simulation theory

 The term simulation theory primarily refers to an account of mindreading that accords to empathy, or simulation, a core role in how we understand, or mindread, the states of others. Simulation plays a significant role in human cognition. Drawing on findings in developmental psychology and cognitive neuroscience, it shows that mind reading involves the imitation, copying, or reexperience of the mind reading target’s mental processes. People commonly execute mindreading by trying to simulate, replicate or reproduce in their own minds the same state, or sequence of states, as the target. This is the simulation theory (ST).

How should the concept of ‘simulation’ be understood? The verb simulate is derived from the Latin simulare, which means ‘imitate’, ‘feign’, or ‘copy’. The Latin verb is in turn derived from similis, which means ‘similar’ or ‘like’. Applying this notion to the cognitive realm, we may say that one cognitive event, state, or process ‘simulates’ another event, etc., just in case it imitates, copies, or reproduces the second event. In the mind reading literature, this sense is captured by other labels for simulation (e.g., ‘replication’13 or ‘recreation’22). Another useful term, often employed in the cognitive science literature, is ‘reexperience’. In cognitive scientific usage—and as we are using the term—‘reexperience’ does not necessarily mean conscious reexperience. For example, an event can be unconsciously reexperienced if there is a neural or functional resemblance (but no phenomenological resemblance) between.

ST (in its original form) says that people employ imagination, mental pretense, or perspective taking (‘putting oneself in the other person’s shoes’) to determine others’ mental states. A mentalizer simulates another person by first creating pretend states (e.g., pretend desires and beliefs) in her own mind that correspond to those of the target. She then inputs these pretend states into a suitable cognitive mechanism, which operates on the inputs and generates a new output (e.g., a decision). This new state is taken ‘off line’ and attributed or assigned to the target.

Simulation theory of empathy

Simulation theory of empathy is a theory that holds that humans anticipate and make sense of the behavior of others by activating mental processes that, if carried into action, would produce similar behavior. This includes intentional behavior as well as the expression of emotions. The theory states that children use their own emotions to predict what others will do. Therefore, we project our own mental states onto others. Simulation theory is not primarily a theory of empathy, but rather a theory of how people understand others—that they do so by way of a kind of empathetic response. This theory uses more biological evidence than other theories of mind, such as the theory-theory.

In one sense of the term, empathy refers to the basic maneuver of feeling one’s way into the state of another, by “identifying” with the other, or imaginatively putting oneself in the other’s shoes. One does not simply try to depict or represent another’s state, but actually to experience or share it.

Simulation-based learning theory and self-regulated learning

 Simulation-based learning is a constructivist learning model that provides learners with an experience of working on an usually simplified simulated world or system. This approach, widely adopted in military and aviation “to maximize training safety and minimize risk”, is today used extensively, especially in the medical education.

 A simulation can be defined as a model of reality reflecting some or all of its properties. Robert Gagne identified the following properties of a simulation as crucial:

  • A simulation represents a real situation in which operations are carried out.
  • A simulation provides the user with certain controls over the problem or situation.
  • A simulation omits certain distracting variables irrelevant or unimportant for the particular instructional goals.Simulation = (Reality) – (Task irrelevant elements)

 Simulation-based learning today mostly relies on usage of computers and advanced technologies to provide a near authentic experience for the user and enhance learning. As a learning tool, simulations mostly rely on some other learning theory and implement its principles.

Criticisms: Many previous studies in this area found that, at least for novice learners, simulation-based learning is hard and that they have problems in establishing goals and their results in learning through simulation or that they have problems with verbalizing results and gained knowledge. It seemed that richness of the information a student can extract from a simulation makes his learning more difficult unless it is first simplified and well structured.

Self-regulated learning

Self-regulated learning (SRL) requires an active learner who has developed a set of processes for managing the achievement of learning goals. Simulation-based training is one context in which trainees can safely practise learning how to learn.

Self-regulated learning (SRL) is often discussed in the health professions as a concept that applies generally to lifelong learning and specifically to the development of skills such as those required in reflective practice. Research on SRL in health professions education, however, is sparse relative to that in other education literatures, in which academic self-regulation is a field of study firmly grounded in a number of theories. As in any field, education scholars differ on the key ingredients of effective SRL, yet all tend to agree that SRL involves modulating one’s affective, cognitive and behavioural processes during learning in order to attain desired goals. In studying SRL, researchers typically focus on two areas: (i) specific instances of SRL in order to understand how best to support (or scaffold) learning within a session (Was SRL supported in this instance so trainees learned the topic of interest well?), and (ii) how learners develop SRL skills they can use beyond that session (Did the process of learning today prepare them for future learning?).

Educators and researchers shift from thinking about SRL as learning alone to thinking of SRL as comprising a shared responsibility between the trainee and the instructional designer (i.e. learning using designed supports that help prepare individuals for future learning).

One model with strong explanatory power is the social-cognitive model of SRL, which suggests that learners progress through four stages as they learn a particular task. In the first two stages, observational and emulative, the learner watches and then imitates social or environmental sources such as an instructor or instructional video. In the self-control stage, the source of learning shifts to the learner, who still relies heavily on previously observed performances to guide his or her actions. Finally, in the self-regulation stage, the learner spontaneously adapts performance successfully in a variety of situations. This model depicts learning as an activity that a learner self-regulates whether learning alone (unsupervised) or in the presence of instructors or peers (supervised). Fortunately, new technologies are expanding the situations in which trainees can learn how to learn. In particular, technology-enhanced simulation affords trainees the opportunity for SRL.



Magnify World – AR/VR Business Summit & EXPO 2018

A business summit which showcases a combination of international and local speakers covering a series of industry sectors such as film and television, advertising and branding, gaming, technology, artificial intelligence, and investment. The second day is open to the public offering opportunities to experience AR/VR technologies.

After a conference, I felt that there is a lot to improve in terms of VR/AR image quality. A long way to go…