John Sweller

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John Sweller
Born1946 (age 77–78)
Alma materUniversity of Adelaide (BA, PhD)
Known forCognitive load[1]
Scientific career
FieldsEducational psychology
InstitutionsUniversity of New South Wales
ThesisEffects of initial discrimination training on subsequent shift learning in animals and humans (1972) Edit this at Wikidata

John Sweller (born 1946) is an Australian educational psychologist who is best known for formulating an influential theory of cognitive load.[1] He is currently (i.e., 2020) Professor Emeritus at the University of New South Wales.[2]


Sweller was educated at the University of Adelaide where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree in 1969[citation needed] followed by a PhD from the department of psychology in 1972. His doctoral research investigated effects of discrimination training on subsequent shift learning in animals.

Career and research[edit]

Sweller has authored over 80 academic publications, mainly reporting research on cognitive factors in instructional design,[3] with specific emphasis on the instructional implications of working memory limitations and their consequences for instructional procedures.[4][5][6][7]

Awards and honours[edit]

Sweller was elected a Fellow of the Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia (FASSA) in 1993.[8]


  1. ^ a b Sweller, J (1988). "Cognitive load during problem solving: Effects on learning". Cognitive Science. 12 (2): 257–285. doi:10.1207/s15516709cog1202_4. ISSN 0364-0213.
  2. ^ Edit this at Wikidata
  3. ^ Kirschner, Paul A.; Sweller, John; Clark, Richard E. (June 2006). "Why Minimal Guidance During Instruction Does Not Work: An Analysis of the Failure of Constructivist, Discovery, Problem-Based, Experiential, and Inquiry-Based Teaching". Educational Psychologist. 41 (2): 75-86, 75–86. doi:10.1207/S15326985EP4102_1. ISSN 0046-1520. S2CID 17067829. Wikidata Q55881467.
  4. ^ Sweller, John; van Merrienboer, Jeroen J. G.; Paas, Fred G. W. C. (1998). "Cognitive Architecture and Instructional Design". Educational Psychology Review. 10 (3): 251–296. doi:10.1023/A:1022193728205. ISSN 1040-726X. S2CID 127506.
  5. ^ Sweller, J. (2003) Evolution of Human Cognitive Architecture, In The Psychology of Learning and Motivation, Volume 43. Brian Ross (eds.). San Diego: Academic Press.[ISBN missing]
  6. ^ Cooper, Graham; Tindall-Ford, Sharon; Chandler, Paul; Sweller, John (2001). "Learning by imagining". Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied. 7 (1): 68–82. doi:10.1037/1076-898X.7.1.68. ISSN 1076-898X. PMID 11577621.
  7. ^ John Sweller (1999) Instructional design in technical areas. Melbourne: ACER Press. ISBN 978-0864313126
  8. ^ "Academy Fellow – Professor John Sweller FASSA". Academy of the Social Sciences in Australia. Retrieved 2023-11-25.