Publication Date


Date of Final Oral Examination (Defense)


Type of Culminating Activity


Degree Title

Doctor of Education in Curriculum and Instruction


Curriculum, Instruction, and Foundational Studies

Major Advisor

Keith W. Thiede, Ph.D.


Janet Reis, Ph.D.


Michael John Humphrey, Ed.D.


Suzan Kardong-Edgren, Ph.D.


This study provides a research framework that incorporates cognitive load theory (CLT) into simulation design and implementation, as well as providing a pilot tool to measure cognitive load specific to nursing simulation. The pedagogy of CLT is based in an understanding of cognitive architecture, which includes working memory, long-term memory, various types of cognitive load, and schema development. A quasi-experimental quantitative design was used with a convenience sample of senior baccalaureate nursing students who participated in simulation as part of their coursework. The treatment group received a worked out modeling intervention, designed upon the CLT instructional intervention of the worked out example. The control group received the usual simulation intervention. Each group was given a pre- and post-simulation knowledge survey and a cognitive load survey post simulation to measure whether the worked out modeling intervention had any effect on cognitive load experienced and knowledge acquired from the simulation experience. Results suggested that students receiving the worked out modeling intervention did have higher knowledge attainment scores related to fall management. No significant differences were found in the level of cognitive load experienced, although additional measures identified that the use of a pre-simulation activity does increase germane load, which is necessary for schema construction.