2: How pupils learn ‒ memory and cognition

Time commitment

  • 4 hours self-directed study materials
  • 7 x 1-hour mentor sessions
  • 2 x training sessions

Why this, why now?

Helping pupils to learn is the cornerstone of what teaching is all about. Despite best intentions learning does not always take place. Unfortunately, it is not as simple as: you teach it, they learn it. Learning is affected by a multitude of factors such as what prior knowledge pupils had, how many distractions there were in the classroom, and how much new content is being introduced at one time. There have been significant advances in cognitive science over the past 40 years which have led to an understanding of ‘cognitive load’ and how it influences learning.

Understanding cognitive load helps teachers know how pupils learn, and importantly, how they can design instruction which optimises the environment for learning to take place. There are some really important factors of memory and cognition which underpin learning and this Block will help you to understand these and their implications for teaching.

Your workload

Your time as a teacher is a precious resource. By using evidence-informed approaches to manage cognitive load, you maximise the potential for learning in every lesson. Instead of having to re-teach something later in the year, you can focus on getting it right the first time.

Activities in this Block