Effects of concurrent monitoring on cognitive load and performance as a function of task complexity
For self-regulated learning to be effective, students or trainees need to be able to accurately monitor their performance while they are working on a task, use the outcomes as input for self-assessment of that performance after completing the task and select an appropriate new learning task in response to that assessment. From a cognitive load perspective, monitoring can be seen as a secondary task that may become hard to maintain and hamper performance on the primary task under high load conditions. The experiment presented here investigated the effects of concurrent performance monitoring on cognitive load and performance as a function of task complexity. Results showed that monitoring significantly decreased performance and increased cognitive load on complex, but not on simple tasks. The findings are discussed in terms of theoretical consequences and instructional design for self-regulated learning.