John Sweller

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Dr. John Sweller
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide (PhD)
Scientific career
FieldsEducational psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of New South Wales

John Sweller (born 1946) is an Australian educational psychologist who is best known for formulating an influential theory of cognitive load.

He received a Ph.D. from the University of Adelaide's Department of Psychology in 1972 — his thesis was entitled "Effects of initial discrimination training on subsequent shift learning in animals and humans" — and he also received a B.A. (Hons.) from the same institution in 1969.

He has authored over 80 academic publications, mainly reporting research on cognitive factors in instructional design, with specific emphasis on the instructional implications of working memory limitations (e.g., Sweller, Merrienboer & Paas, 1998) and their consequences for instructional procedures.

Sweller is a Fellow of the ASSA (Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia), and is currently Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales.[1]

See also[edit]


Sweller, J., van Merrienboer, J., & Paas, F. (1998). Cognitive architecture and instructional design. Educational Psychology Review, 10, 251-296.

Sweller, J. (2003) Evolution of Human Cognitive Architecture, In The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 43. Brian Ross (eds.). San Diego: Academic Press.

Graham Cooper, Sharon Tindall-Ford, Paul Chandler and John Sweller (2001) "Learning by imagining", Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 7: 68-82.

John Sweller (1999) Instructional design in technical areas. Melbourne: ACER Press.

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