Education is the most essential human need. Without education, no society can survive; but effective and useful education cannot be done by trial and error, it requires a plan. A review of previous research shows that little attention is paid to the issue of external cognitive load and higher-level learning, especially problem solving in the educational design in the country. Therefore, the present study was conducted with regard to the importance and impact of educational design patterns, especially Gagne's design pattern in the field of educational activities and its purpose was to investigate the effect of applying the Gagne's pattern on the external cognitive load and problem solving ability.
Methods: With respect to purpose, this was an applied study and with respect to methodology, this was considered as a quasi-experimental study (of the type of pretest-posttest with experimental and control groups). The population of the study consisted of male high school students in West Islamabad. To conduct the research, a high school from West Islamabad was randomly selected, using multistage cluster sampling method. From among the classes of this high school, two were selected as the experimental group and the control group. Then, based on their midterm scores, 15 students from each class were randomly divided into the two control and experimental groups. The experimental group was exposed to the independent variable and the control group was trained by the conventional method. Data were collected using a scale of Pass, Van Merrienboer and Adam. Another instrument was the researcher-made problem solving skill test whose validity was determined by experts and its reliability was 0.84 using retest method. Finally, the collected data were analyzed by using independent t-test and analysis of covariance.
Findings: For both groups in this study, homogeneity problem solving pre-test and post-test were performed first. After the experiment (Gagne's educational design pattern) was applied with the experimental group, the results showed the relative superiority of the experimental group in a way that the average score obtained for this group in their problem solving skill (that is, 16.533) was higher than that of the control group (that is, 13.000). Also, there was a significant difference between the average of external cognitive load in the experimental group (6.600) and the control group (3.333). The results of the study showed that in terms of the external cognitive load, there is a statistically significant difference between the two control and experimental groups (t: 6.767, p: 0.01). In addition, the findings of the study revealed that Gargano’s educational design pattern had a significant effect on the reduction of the external cognitive load in the experimental group as compared to that of the control group. The findings also showed a significant increase in the problem solving skills in the experimental group as compared to those of the control group (p: 0.05, df: 1, F: 46.234).
Conclusion: Based on research findings, it can be concluded that the application of Gagne's pattern in the educational system can have a positive effect on achieving high levels of learning, and it is recommended that teachers and administrators of the educational system pay attention to this point. According to their authority on how to use different teaching methods, teachers can use the results of this research, and use this design method in preparing their lesson plans and applying it to their teaching.
©2021 The author(s). This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.