Tuesday, December 9, 2014
Cognitive load theory shows why law professors should use examples in their classrooms. So writes UNLV Professor Terrill Pollman in her article The Sincerest Form of Flattery: Examples and Model-Based Learning in the Law School Classroom in thethe November issue of the Journal of Legal Education. She explains that cognitive load theory concerns the learning of complex tasks where “learners are often overwhelmed” by the need to process and apply a number of elements. Cognitive load theorists suggest that teachers should give students specific guidance in order to lighten their cognitive load. Using examples in both doctrinal and legal writing courses is one way to do that for law students as they become familiar with the legal field. But research also shows that courses for more experienced learners might include fewer examples and prompt students to grapple with problem solving, Pollman writes.