Individual versus group learning as a function of task complexity: An exploration into the measurement of group cognitive load

Femke Kirschner, Fred Paas, Paul A. Kirschner

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference Article in proceedingAcademicpeer-review

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    Abstract

    The target of this study is twofold, on the one hand it is an empirical study into the learning effectiveness of group versus individual learning as a function of task complexity, on the other hand it is an exploration into the measurement of group cognitive load as a function of task complexity. The effects of individual versus group learning on retention and transfer test performance and mental effort were investigated among 52 high school students performing mathematical tasks. Applying cognitive load theory groups were considered as information processing systems in which group members, by communication and coordination of information (i.e., transaction costs), can make use of each others WM capacity. It was hypothesized that with low complexity tasks, group members would achieve the same test performance, but with higher learning effort than individuals because of the transaction costs. With high complexity tasks, group members were expected to achieve a higher test performance with lower learning effort than individuals, because the transaction costs are minimal compared to the gain afforded by a division of cognitive load. On an exploratory basis, it was investigated how individual-level models can be used as a basis to understand group-level load.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationBeyond Knowledge: The Legacy of Competence
    Subtitle of host publicationMeaningful Computer-based Learning Environments
    EditorsJörg Zumbach, Neil Schwartz, Tina Seufert, Liesbeth Kester
    Place of PublicationDordrecht
    PublisherSpringer Netherlands
    Pages21-28
    Number of pages8
    Edition1
    ISBN (Electronic)9781402088278
    ISBN (Print)9781402088261
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2008

    Keywords

    • Cognitive load
    • Collaborative learning
    • Task complexity

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