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Germane cognitive load is that load devoted to the processing, construction and automation of schemas.
Germane load was first described by Sweller, van Merrienboer and Paas in 1998. While intrinsic cognitive load is generally thought to be immutable, instructional designers can manipulate extraneous and germane load. It is suggested that they limit extraneous load and promote germane load (Sweller, van Merrienboer & Paas, 1998).
Until the 1998 article by Sweller, van Merrienboer & Paas, cognitive load theory primarily concentrated on the reduction of extraneous cognitive load. With this article, cognitive load researchers began to seek ways of redesigning instruction to redirect what would be extraneous load, to now be focused toward schema construction (germane load). Thus it is very important for instructional designers to "reduce extraneous cognitive load and redirect learners' attention to cognitive processes that are directly relevant to the construction of schemas" (Sweller et al., 1998, p.265).
- Sweller, J., Van Merrienboer, J., & Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review 10: 251-296.
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