Neurodiversity Positively Predicts Perceived Extraneous Load in Online Learning: A Quantitative Research Study

Anne-Laure Le Cunff*, Vincent Giampietro, Eleanor Dommett

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Downloads (Pure)


Working memory impairments are common in neurodevelopmental conditions, potentially impacting how neurodivergent students experience cognitive load during learning. We conducted a survey with 231 participants focused on students with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), autism spectrum disorder (ASD), and dyslexia. Parametric tests and a regression analysis were used to investigate the relationship between neurodiversity and perceived cognitive load in online learning. Neurodivergent students reported significantly higher extraneous cognitive load (ECL) in online learning compared to their neurotypical peers. However, no significant differences in perceived intrinsic and germane cognitive load were found between the two groups. Neurodiversity, and specifically ADHD, positively predicted perceived ECL in online learning. This study provides novel insights into the association between neurodiversity and cognitive load in online learning, suggesting a need for targeted support to help neurodivergent students reduce ECL in online learning environments and highlighting the importance of promoting inclusive educational practices that meet the needs of all students.
Original languageEnglish
Article number516
JournalEducation Sciences
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 May 2024


  • neurodiversity
  • adhd
  • online learning
  • cognitive load


Dive into the research topics of 'Neurodiversity Positively Predicts Perceived Extraneous Load in Online Learning: A Quantitative Research Study'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this