#134 Ollie Lovell: Cognitive Load Theory in Action

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This episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast is kindly supported by Arc Maths.

You can find more information about their app for helping students remember those crucial maths skills – and register for a free trial – at arceducation.co.uk/for-schools/


Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Mr Barton Maths Podcast, with me Craig Barton.

This time around I was delighted to welcome back to the show, Ollie Lovell.

Ollie is a maths teacher from sunny Australia. He is also a head of department, blogger, research ravager, pioneering podcaster, and now best-selling author

Now this marks Ollie’s third appearance on the show. He was first on back in 2018 where we discussed a whole manner of things, including planning lessons and running a maths department. Then Ollie returned to the show last year as part of my Teaching from Home series. This time around I wanted to dive deep into Cognitive Load Theory following the publication of Ollie best-selling book – Cognitive Load Theory in action. But I didn’t just want to re-tread old ground, so we chatted about the following things, and plenty more besides:

  • What has Ollie been up to since we last spoke – and that includes a new job and a new business venture (Dendro)
  • If someone had never heard of Cognitive Load Theory, how would Ollie explain it to them in one sentence?
  • Why should teachers care about it?
  • What are the implications of Cognitive Load Theory for online learning?
  • Did Ollie change his mind about anything whilst researching the book?
  • And then we get to 4 things I still don’t fully understand about Cognitive Load Theory – the role of working out, what is cognitive overload, element interactivity, and goal-free problems

This is a great episode to launch 2021 with. Ollie is super enthusiast and super insightful. I learned so much from this interview, and I really hope you will too.

On Twitter, Ollie is @ollie_lovell
Ollie’s website is ollielovell.com where you can also sign up for his weekly Twitter takeaways
You can check-out Ollie podcast, The Education Research Reading Room here
Ollie’s book, Cognitive Load Theory in Action is available from Amazon, or you can get a 40% discount by ordering from John Catt and using the code mrbarton40 at the check out page.

Here is the image about Goal Free Problems from Ollie’s book:




My usual plugs:


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