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Week 3 submission: Performance Load

November 5, 2012

Week 3 submission

Question 1)

“Performance load is the degree of mental and physical activity required to achieve a goal” (Butler, Holden and Lidwell, 2003.) Performance load consists of two types of loads: cognitive load and kinematic load.

Cognitive load is basically the amount of mental activity needed to reach the end goal. How much problem solving is required and how much memory is needed during the processes to reach the final goal. To avoid heavily relying on the cognitive load to achieve the end goal, people can reduce visual noise, categorizing important information, memory aids and automating computation and memory intensive tasks.

Kinematic load is the degree of physical activity, better known as the number of steps or movements, used to obtain the required goal. General tactics that people can implement to reduce the physical load when completing the task is to minimize the range of motion and travel distances as well as repetitive tasks.

Question 2)

According to ‘the learning coach .com’ chunking is defined as: “Chunking refers to the strategy of breaking down information into bite-sized pieces so the brain can more easily digest new information” (Malamed, 2012.)

There are four steps to successfully ‘chunking’ information into smaller sections to easily condense information.

Step 1: Start at the highest level.
Use a chunking strategy while determining the content hierarchy of a course. Determine how modules, lessons and topics will be organized into a logical and progressive order.

Start with large chunks of conceptually related content and use these as your modules. There are numerous organizational strategies, such as simple to complex, cause and effect, sequential, etc. See How to Organize Content for more on this.

Step 2: Modules into lessons into topics.
Divide modules into smaller related chunks and these will become your lessons. Continue with this process until content is broken down to the topic level. As you become more familiar with the content, fine tune the internal structure.

Step 3: Chunk at the screen level.
When you have a solid module-lesson-topic structure, organize the content so each screen consists of one chunk of related information. Depending on how you design, this could be at the topic level, at the detailed learning objective level or at the concept level. As a guiding rule, avoid introducing multiple topics, learning objectives or concepts at one time.

Step 4: Do a working memory check.
Throughout the process, think in terms of working memory. Do you really need to include all the content you have in front of you? If not, get rid of extraneous content. Less is more.

(Malamed, 2012)


Carrying out these steps will ensure people correctly chunk information, resulting in the brain being able to hold only the important bits of information, as the brain can only hold a certain amount.

Question 3)

The Macquarie dictionary defines Psychology as follows: The scientific study of the human mind and its functions, esp. those affecting behavior in a given context, or, the mental characteristics or attitude of a person or group.

Of course the study of Psychology is necessary. Any study into further developing people knowledge of how the most sophisticated and important organ in the human body has to be a good thing. Further research into the human mind may result in cures for mental illness and may even one day prevent violent acts against other people.


Iphone’s now come with ‘Siri’. A program in which users can talk into their phone to ask ‘Siri’ to help them out with something. For example, I can ask Siri to send a text message to my mum and ask her, “what is for dinner” and Siri will perform the task. Siri has single handedly reduced the cognitive load of sending a text message as well as eliminating a sizeable amount of the Kinematic load needed to send a text message.



Lidwell, W., Holden, K., & Butler, J. (2003). Performance Load. In Universal Principles of Design (pp. 148‐149). Massachusetts: Rockport.

Melamed, C. (2012) Chunking Information for Instructional Design. Retrieved from the Elearning coach website:



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