The amount of guidance supplied by educators to students in allied health programs is a factor in student learning. According to the cognitive load theory of learning, without adequate instructional support, novice learners will be overwhelmed and unable to store information, while unnecessary guidance supplied to advanced students will cause extraneous cognitive load on the working memory system. Adjusting instructional guidance for students according to their level of expertise to minimize extraneous cognitive load and optimize working memory storage capacity will enhance learning effectiveness. Novice students presented with complex subject matter require significant guidance during the initial stages, using strategies such as worked examples. As students comprehend information, instructional guidance needs to gradually fade to avoid elevated extraneous cognitive load from the expertise reversal effect. An instructional strategy that utilizes a systemic (fixed) or adjustable (adaptive) tapering of guidance to students in allied health programs depending on their expertise will optimize learning capability.
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