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He has a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide's Department of Psychology — his thesis was titled "Effects of initial discrimination training on subsequent shift learning in animals and humans" — and also has a B.A. (Hons.) from the same institution.
He has authored over 80 academic publications, mainly reporting research on cognitive factors in instructional design, with specific emphasis on the instructional implications of working memory limitations (e.g., Sweller, Merrienboer & Pass, 1998) and their consequences for instructional procedures.
- Schema (psychology)
- Cognitive load
- Intrinsic cognitive load
- Extraneous cognitive load
- Germane cognitive load
- Active learning
- Cooper, G., Sharon Tindall-Ford, Paul Chandler and John Sweller (2001) "Learning by imagining", Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 7: 68-82.
- Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J., & Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251-296.
- Sweller, J. (2003) Evolution of Human Cognitive Architecture, In The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 43. Brian Ross (eds.). San Diego: Academic Press.
- Sweller, J. (1999) Instructional design in technical areas. Melbourne: ACER Press.
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