I was just skimming this post of mine from last year about the pedagogical and cognitive limitations of PowerPoint presentations. The research suggested that
the human brain processes and retains more information if it is digest in either its verbal or written form, but not both at the same time.
I concluded with this note:
Professor Sweller also says that it’s better to teach by presenting an already-solved problem rather than asking students to work out the problems themselves. That seems counter-intuitive. But he says that “Looking at an already solved problem reduces the working memory load and allows you to learn. It means the next time you come across a problem like that, you have a better chance at solving it.
Now that makes me wonder if that’s the same reason we in the west prefer essays which state their theses right at the beginning and paragraphs which start off with topic sentences. We like easier reading. If we valued complexity and/or put more emphasis on the needs of the writer as opposed to the needs of the reader, we would probably have evolved a rhetoric, like some non-western rhetorics, which makes the reader’s brain work harder, which circles around the thesis, only getting to it much later (or not explicitly at all).
Does Professor Sweller’s observation also mean that deductive explanations will work better in classrooms than inductive ones?