Neurodiversity and cognitive load in online learning: A systematic review with narrative synthesis

Anne-Laure Le Cunff, Vincent Giampietro, Eleanor Dommett

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This systematic review with narrative synthesis aimed to examine the available evidence on the relationship between neurodiversity and cognitive load in online learning. Despite the known relationship between working memory impairments and neurodiversity, there has been a lack of systematic investigation into how cognitive load impacts neurodivergent students in online learning environments. This review, which includes 90 studies conducted in 21 countries, reveals that the majority (92%) did not consider neurodiversity as a potential factor influencing cognitive load in online learning. The few that did suggest distinct patterns of cognitive load in online learning for neurodivergent students, suggesting a need for more research in this area. The results also point to the potential for methodological advancements in measuring cognitive load in online learning, highlighting that 80% of studies with only neurotypical participants and 60% of studies including neurodivergent participants relied solely on subjective measures of cognitive load. This review contributes to the field by offering a comprehensive overview of our current knowledge of the relationship between neurodiversity and cognitive load in online learning, identifying significant gaps and suggesting directions for future studies.
Original languageEnglish
Article number100604
JournalEducational Research Review
Volume43
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Mar 2024

Keywords

  • neuroscience
  • neurodiversity
  • learning
  • cognition

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