Research Supervisor Connect

Cognitive Science and Instructional Design


This program of research explores how we can apply what we know about human cognitive architecture to the design of learning materials and activities.


Associate Professor Paul Ginns.

Research location

Sydney School of Education and Social Work

Program type



This programme of research applies our knowledge of the structure and function of the mind to instructional design. When instructional materials don’t take such factors into account, students often experience cognitive overload, holding back learning. This programme of research uses experimental research methods to test hypotheses drawn from Cognitive Load Theory (e.g. Sweller et al., 2019). Reflecting the evolutionary underpinnings of Cognitive Load Theory, areas of current interest are embodied learning (e.g., tracing actions, gesture), and more generally how biologically primary knowledge (cf. Geary, 2008) can be incorporated effectively into lessons.

Additional information

1. If you are interested in this research opportunity, you are encouraged to email the potential supervisor directly.  To find their email address, follow the link provided to their profile page. 

When contacting them, you should describe your academic educational background and research experience, and include an academic transcript and CV (resume). You should also include a research proposal (1500-2000 words); refer to How to write a research proposal for guidance. You should explain why you want to undertake a PhD and how you believe your research topic aligns with the supervisor’s own research. You may be asked to supply a sample of written work.

2. Your potential supervisor may offer you advice on developing your research proposal before you submit your application. You will need to provide a written statement from your potential supervisor that they have agreed to supervise your project.

3. If you would like general advice in your subject area before submitting an application, contact an academic advisor listed here:

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 750