Informing Lesson Design with Human Information Processing

By Gagel, Charles W. | Journal of Adult Education, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

Informing Lesson Design with Human Information Processing


Gagel, Charles W., Journal of Adult Education


Abstract

Designing effective instruction is the goal of any instructional designer. This article discusses how lesson design can be enhanced by incorporating certain fundamentals of cognitive psychology. The stages of human information processing and a typical four-step lesson are integrated in a model that can inform instructional design.

Introduction

Designing lessons for how learning experiences are mentally processed can improve instruction. It is worth considering the activities of a lesson, the flow of a lesson, and how the brain processes and retains information. This article discusses how lesson design can be enhanced by integrating cognitive theory. A typical four-part lesson will be discussed in conjunction with the stages of human information processing (HIP) in order to conceptualize a model (Figure 1) that can inform lesson design. By respecting how the mind processes and retains information a more effective and efficient lesson can be designed.

HIP in Brief

HIP is a theory of how the human mind acquires, stores, retrieves, and uses information. In Figure 1 the horizontal row of six boxes represent different stages of HIP. The Sensory Store box represents the major input and output stage for information. It essentially represents the five human senses. The senses afford multiple channels into the mind. In effect, the more channels one uses in the learning process, the greater the possibility that what is learned will be retained.

The Filter stage focuses on attention. It represents the point at which something attracts one's attention. Once attention is gained, the stimulus is analyzed through Pattern Recognition to determine if it is worthy of continuation. The key to holding attention is whether or not the mind recognizes a familiar pattern in the stimulus. Regarding information, the mind searches for familiar concepts, principles, or ideas. The Selection stage represents the second attention filter. If the mind has recognized something familiar and/or interesting, then one is likely to continue attending to the new stimulus.

The two filters serve as a doorway into Short-Term Memory (STM). STM is where the real learning begins. STM, however, has many limitations: it has limited capacity, it is easily disrupted, and it is vulnerable to loss. If STM is overloaded, the learning process slows down or stops. If too much information is introduced, the mind struggles to comprehend and make associations. Then, if attention is disrupted, information may be processed piecemeal and learning is incomplete or even inaccurate.

STM serves as a pathway to Long-Term Memory (LTM). It takes time and effort for information to be processed into LTM. Still, once in LTM, it may not be easily available. Here one has to contend with information decay if the memory is not reinforced by use.

Informing Lesson Design

Learner-friendly lessons can be designed once we appreciate more about how the mind learns. In Figure 1 the popular four-step lesson format is illustrated along the bottom of the diagram. The four separate horizontal bars span the different stages of the HIP model. The bars illustrate when a particular step is most influential in the learning process and the lengths indicate the duration of a step's influence. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Note: primary sources have slightly different requirements for citation. Please see these guidelines for more information.

Cited article

Informing Lesson Design with Human Information Processing
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen
Items saved from this article
  • Highlights & Notes
  • Citations
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA 8, MLA 7, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Search by... Author
    Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.