Understanding Cognitive Load is Key for Your Team Success

When you have a team not performing, the amount of required knowledge to do certain skill might be what’s causing stress.

Igor Carvalho
2 min readDec 26, 2022
Photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash

The term “cognitive load” describes how much mental energy is being expended at the moment. It refers to how much data a person’s working memory can keep at once. The working memory system is in charge of storing and managing information while it is being used. Learning and problem-solving challenges might result from a working memory overload or a high cognitive load.

There are three types of cognitive load: intrinsic, extraneous, and germane.

Intrinsic cognitive
It refers to the subject matter’s inherent complexity. A complex mathematical topic, for example, would have a high intrinsic cognitive load since it is difficult to understand.

Extraneous cognitive
It refers to the extra cognitive effort caused on by the way the information is presented. For instance, in web development, it may be challenging for a developer to learn a new programming language if the tutorial they are using is unstructured and difficult to understand. The programming language itself may not be very difficult in this instance, but the developer’s cognitive load would still be high because they are using a lot of mental energy trying to comprehend the badly laid out instruction.

Germane cognitive
It refers to the mental effort required to organize and incorporate new knowledge into long-term memory. This kind of cognitive load is usually viewed as beneficial because it aids in learning and memory retention in individuals.

Why is it important?

Understanding and reducing cognitive load can be beneficial for your team in several ways:

  1. Improved productivity: Your team members may be able to operate more productively and efficiently by minimizing cognitive load, also being able to have more focus on the task.
  2. Better communication: It may be challenging to interact with others efficiently when carrying a heavy cognitive load, your team members may feel more safe to express their ideas and views by having less cognitive load on them, which could improve teamwork and communication.
  3. Enhanced learning: By reducing cognitive load, it can be simpler for the team members to learn new technologies and skills, which can be beneficial for the team’s development.
  4. Increased team morale: High cognitive load can be mentally draining and result in burnout and frustration. Team morale may rise as a result of reduced cognitive load, which may enable team members to work more easily and under less pressure.

Therefore, it’s important to decrease the cognitive load for team, which will improve productivity, communication, learning, and increase the team morale.



Igor Carvalho

I’m a tech lover, blogger, YouTuber, Netflix watcher, and on my daily work I’m a software engineer with several years of experience.