Hello all,

Click HERE for a document on the connections between Cognitive Load Theory and Structured Word Inquiry

In my graduate work at the Faculty of Education at Queen's, my supervisor, John Kirby introduced me to a theory of learning called "Cognitive Load Theory" (CLT) that I found extremely compelling. As soon as I read about it, I realized that it was describing things that every teacher knows about, but didn't necessarily have the precise language for. 

There are a number of descriptions of this theory over the years. I have been most taken by the review by  Schnotz and Kurschner (link here: http://files.realspellers.org/PetesFolder/Articles/Schnotz_Kurschner_Cognitive_Load_2007.pdf) that first got me interested in this theory of learning. One of the things that grabbed my attention by studying the details of CLT was that all of the practices that I was learning by working with Real Spelling and SWI seemed perfectly in line with the instructional suggestions of CLT. I took advantage of this interest in one of my grad courses to write about my own understanding of what CLT is and then I explained how I saw features of SWI follows so much of the recommendations of that theory. 

My own thinking about instruction in general, not just with regard to SWI has been very much influenced by what I learned by studying CLT. I often make presentations on CLT to teachers and I find they instantly make sense of it. 

I'm attaching a pdf of my term paper here in case it is of use to anyone curious about CLT and SWI. It is not a peer reviewed, published paper. Just what I wrote for that class. I actually have not gone back to read it carefully again. I might well have new ideas now that I didn't have then. Pleoase feel free to add comments to this post. 

My impetus to post this was from a discussion elsewhere highlighting CLT as something that is gaining traction again. I hope so. I think it's extremely valuable. I think seeing the links between CLT and SWI might help many understand SWI better too.

See what you think!