The capacity limitation of working memory is a widely recognised determinant of human learning. A cognitive load exceeding the capacity hampers learning. Cognitive load can be controlled by tailoring an instructional design to levels of learner prior knowledge. However, such as design does not necessarily motivate to use the available capacity for better learning. The present review examines literatures on the effects of instructional design, motivation, emotional state, and expertise level on cognitive load and cognitive effort, which ultimately affect working memory performance and learning. This examination suggests further studies on the effects of motivation and negative emotional states on the use of working memory. Prospective findings would help better explain and predict individual differences in the use of working memory for cognitive learning and task performance.
* Title and MeSH Headings from MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine.