The influence of cognitive load on transfer with error prevention training methods: a meta-analysis. Academic Article uri icon


  • OBJECTIVE: The objective was to conduct research synthesis for the U.S.Army on the effectiveness of two error prevention training strategies (training wheels and scaffolding) on the transfer of training. BACKGROUND: Motivated as part of an ongoing program of research on training effectiveness, the current work presents some of the program's research into the effects on transfer of error prevention strategies during training from a cognitive load perspective. Based on cognitive load theory, two training strategies were hypothesized to reduce intrinsic load by supporting learners early in acquisition during schema development. METHOD: A transfer ratio and Hedges' g were used in the two meta-analyses conducted on transfer studies employing the two training strategies. Moderators relevant to cognitive load theory and specific to the implemented strategies were examined.The transfer ratio was the ratio of treatment transfer performance to control transfer. Hedges' g was used in comparing treatment and control group standardized mean differences. Both effect sizes were analyzed with versions of sample weighted fixed effect models. RESULTS: Analysis of the training wheels strategy suggests a transfer benefit. The observed benefit was strongest when the training wheels were a worked example coupled with a principle-based prompt. Analysis of the scaffolding data also suggests a transfer benefit for the strategy. CONCLUSION: Both training wheels and scaffolding demonstrated positive transfer as training strategies.As error prevention techniques, both support the intrinsic load--reducing implications of cognitive load theory. APPLICATION: The findings are applicable to the development of instructional design guidelines in professional skill-based organizations such as the military.

published proceedings

  • Hum Factors

author list (cited authors)

  • Hutchins, S. D., Wickens, C. D., Carolan, T. F., & Cumming, J. M

citation count

  • 13

complete list of authors

  • Hutchins, Shaun D||Wickens, Christopher D||Carolan, Thomas F||Cumming, John M

publication date

  • August 2013