Skip to main content

Neuroscience is the study of the nervous system and the brain. In recent years, learning design has found more and more application in this field. We can create learning experiences that are more effective and efficient if we have a better knowledge of how the brain processes information and learns. In this article, we’ll look at some of the main ideas from neuroscience that can be used in instructional design.

Theory of Cognitive Load

Cognitive Load Theory (CLT) explains how the brain processes information and how to improve learning by minimising cognitive burden. According to CLT, there are three different categories of cognitive load: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane. The difficulty of the content being taught is referred to as its intrinsic load, whereas extraneous load is brought on by unrelated elements like careless design or distracting background noise. The effort necessary to process and incorporate new information into current knowledge systems is referred to as germane load. We can maximise germane load while lowering extraneous load to improve learning and retention.

Spaced Repetition

A learning strategy called spaced repetition involves spreading out learning sessions over time to improve recall. This is predicated on the notion that the brain need some time to organise incoming knowledge into long-term memory. We can enhance long-term retention and retrieval of information by spacing out learning sessions and reviewing content at increasing intervals.

Active Learning

Active learning emphasises active participation in the learning process, as opposed to passive reading or listening. Several brain regions are used during active learning, which enhances memory retention and knowledge transmission. Problem-solving, discussion, and hands-on activities are a few examples of active learning activities.

Memory and Emotion

Emotions can have a big impact on memory and learning, according to research. Experiences that evoke strong emotions are more likely to be recalled than neutral ones. As a result, learning experiences that arouse favourable emotions like interest, enthusiasm, or enjoyment can enhance retention and learning transfer.

Motivation and Reaction

Feedback is crucial for growth and learning, and it has a strong relationship with motivation. Positive feedback that is prompt, precise, and constructive is received well by the brain. Enhancing motivation and engagement in the learning process can be accomplished by giving feedback that is centred on the learner’s progress towards their objectives.


We can build learning experiences that are more effective and efficient by using neuroscience concepts. We may create learning experiences that are more in line with how the brain processes information and learns by optimising cognitive load, using spaced repetition, involving learners in active learning, utilising emotions to boost memory, and offering feedback that is centred on motivation.


Clark, R. C., Nguyen, F., & Sweller, J. (2011). Efficiency in learning: Evidence-based guidelines to manage cognitive load. John Wiley & Sons.

Dunlosky, J., Rawson, K. A., Marsh, E. J., Nathan, M. J., & Willingham, D. T. (2013). Improving learners’ learning with effective learning techniques: Promising directions from cognitive and educational psychology. Psychological Science in the Public Interest, 14(1), 4-58.

Jensen, E. (2008). Brain-based learning: The new paradigm of teaching. Corwin Press.

Pashler, H., Rohrer, D., Cepeda, N. J., & Carpenter, S. K. (2007). Enhancing learning and retarding forgetting: Choices and consequences. Psychonomic Bulletin & Review, 14(2), 187-193.

Schacter, D. L., & Addis, D. R. (2007). The cognitive neuroscience of constructive memory: Remembering the past and imagining the future. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362

Relevant Articles:

Enquire Now

Contact Us