Emeritus Professor Paul Ayres

Emeritus Professor of Educational Psychology
BSc (Hons) Kent, PGCE Lond, PhD UNSW
School of Education

Contact

+61 2 9385 3545
Room 101, Goodsell Building
Kensington Campus
Fields: Educational Technology and Computing, Learning Sciences, Educational Psychology

Paul Ayres is a Professor of Educational Psychology in the School of Education (FASS). He is a researcher whose main focus is on learning and instruction, and applied cognitive psychology. In particular he is a member of the group at UNSW that pioneered Cognitive Load Theory. His highly cited research has been conducted on many of the key areas of CLT such as split-attention, isolating elements, measuring cognitive load, the goal-free effect, the expertise reversal effect, and worked examples. A recent focus is on using technology and multimedia in learning and instructional design. He is currently supervising a number of  PhD students researching topics such as general problem solving strategies & brainstorming, worked examples & feedback, instructional design for chronic pain learners, human movement & instructional animations, multimedia & transitory effects, motivation & cognitive load, collaborative learning. He is also interested in mathematics education and effective teaching. He serves as an Associate Editor for the international journal Applied Cognitive Psychology.

Research

Paul Ayres is a Professor in the School of Education (FASS). He is a researcher whose main focus is on learning and instruction. In particular he is a member of the group at UNSW that pioneered Cognitive Load Theory. He has authored a number of international journal articles that have examined various effects related to CLT such as the expertise reversal effect, split-attention, isolating elements, measuring cognitive load, the goal-free effect and worked examples.

A recent focus is on using technology and multimedia in learning, with a special interest on the role of mirror neurons in animated human movement instruction. He has an Australian Research Council Grant for this research in partnership with Fred Paas (Erasmus University, the Netherlands).

He is currently supervising a number of PhD students researching topics such as general problem solving strategies & brainstorming, worked examples & feedback, instructional design for chronic pain learners, human movement & instructional animations, multimedia & cognitive load, early entry of gifted students to university, and effective teaching of gifted students. He also has a broad interest in mathematics education.

Publications

    Books

    Book Chapters

    • Ayres P; Castro-Alonso JC; Paas F, 2015, 'The potential of embodied cognition to improve STEAM dynamic visualizations', in Ge X; Ifenthaler D; Spector JM (ed.), Emerging Technologies for STEAM Education Full STEAM Ahead, Springer, New York, pp. 113 - 136, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-02573-5
    • Ayres P; Sweller J, 2014, 'The split-attention principle in multimedia learning', in The Cambridge Handbook of Multimedia Learning, Second Edition, pp. 206 - 226, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9781139547369.011
    • Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2014, 'Dynamic Visualisations and Motor Skills', in Handbook of Human Centric Visualization, edn. 1, Springer, New York, NY, pp. 551 - 580, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7485-2_22
    • Ayres P; Sweller J, 2013, 'Worked examples', in Hattie J; Anderman EM (ed.), International Guide to Student Achievement, edn. 1st, Routledge, Oxford, pp. 408 - 410
    • Ayres P; Cierniak G, 2012, 'The split-attention effect', in Seel NM (ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning, edn. 1st, Springer, Berlin, pp. 3172 - 3175
    • Ayres P, 2012, 'Worked example effect', in Seel NM (ed.), Encyclopedia of the sciences of learning, edn. 1st, Springer, Berlin, pp. 3467 - 3471
    • Pass F; Ayres PL; Pachman M, 2008, 'Assessment of Cognitive Load in Multimedia Learning', in Robinson DH; Schraw G (ed.), Recent Innovations in Educational Technology that Facilitate Student Learning, edn. 1, Information Age Publisher, Charlotte, NC, pp. 11 - 35
    • Gog TV; Rikers R; Ayres PL, 2008, 'Assessment of Complex Performance', in Spector J; Merrill M; Van Merrienboer J; Driscoll M (ed.), Handbook of Research on Educational Communications and Technology, edn. 3rd, Erlbaum, NY, pp. 763 - 806
    • Pass F; Gog TV; Kirschner F; Marcus N; Ayres PL; Sweller J, 2008, 'Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Cognitive Load Research as a Key to Tackle Challenges', in Zumbach J (ed.), Beyond Knowledge: The Legacy of Competence, edn. 1, Springer, Speringr-Veriag New York, pp. 1 - 9, http://www.springer.com/education+%26+language/learning+%26+instruction/book/978-1-4020-8826-1

    Journal articles

    • Stebner F; Kühl T; Höffler TN; Wirth J; Ayres P, 2017, 'The role of process information in narrations while learning with animations and static pictures', Computers and Education, vol. 104, pp. 34 - 48, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.11.001
    • Retnowati E; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2016, 'Can Collaborative Learning Improve the Effectiveness of Worked Examples in Learning Mathematics?', Journal of Educational Psychology, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/edu0000167
    • Singh AM; Marcus N; Ayres P, 2016, 'Strategies to reduce the negative effects of spoken explanatory text on integrated tasks', Instructional Science, pp. 1 - 23, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11251-016-9400-2
    • Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2016, 'Comparing apples and oranges? A critical look at research on learning from statics versus animations', Computers and Education, vol. 102, pp. 234 - 243, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2016.09.004
    • Smith A; Ayres P, 2016, 'Investigating the Modality and Redundancy Effects for Learners with Persistent Pain', Educational Psychology Review, vol. 28, pp. 401 - 424, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-014-9293-z
    • Ayres P, 2015, 'State-of-the-Art Research into Multimedia Learning: A Commentary on Mayer's Handbook of Multimedia Learning', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 29, pp. 631 - 636, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.3142
    • Wong M; Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2015, 'Gender effects when learning manipulative tasks from instructional animations and static presentations', Educational Technology and Society, vol. 18, pp. 37 - 52
    • Fraser KL; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2015, 'Cognitive load theory for the design of medical simulations', Simulation in Healthcare, vol. 10, pp. 295 - 307, http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/SIH.0000000000000097
    • Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2015, 'Animations showing Lego manipulative tasks: Three potential moderators of effectiveness', Computers and Education, vol. 85, pp. 1 - 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compedu.2014.12.022
    • Youssef-Shalala A; Ayres P; Schubert C; Sweller J, 2014, 'Using a general problem-solving strategy to promote transfer', Journal of Experimental Psychology: Applied, vol. 20, pp. 215 - 231, http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/xap0000021
    • Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2014, 'Learning from observing hands in static and animated versions of non-manipulative tasks', Learning and Instruction, vol. 34, pp. 11 - 21, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2014.07.005
    • Paas F; Ayres P, 2014, 'Cognitive Load Theory: A Broader View on the Role of Memory in Learning and Education', Educational Psychology Review, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-014-9263-5
    • Smith A; Ayres P, 2013, 'The Impact of Persistent Pain on Working Memory and Learning', Educational Psychology Review, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-013-9247-x
    • Ayres P, 2013, 'Can the isolated-elements strategy be improved by targeting points of high cognitive load for additional practice?', Learning and Instruction, vol. 23, pp. 115 - 124, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2012.08.002
    • Marcus N; Cleary B; Wong A; Ayres P, 2013, 'Should hand actions be observed when learning hand motor skills from instructional animations?', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 29, pp. 2172 - 2178, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2013.04.035
    • Singh AM; Marcus N; Ayres P, 2012, 'The transient information effect: Investigating the impact of segmentation on spoken and written text', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 26, pp. 848 - 853, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.2885
    • Ayres P; Paas F, 2012, 'Cognitive load theory: New directions and challenges', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 26, pp. 827 - 832, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.2882
    • Moussa-Inaty J; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2012, 'Improving Listening Skills in English as a Foreign Language by Reading Rather than Listening: A Cognitive Load Perspective', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 26, pp. 391 - 402, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1840
    • Youssef A; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2012, 'Using general problem-solving strategies to generate ideas in order to solve geography problems', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 26, pp. 872 - 877, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.2888
    • Kirschner PA; Ayres P; Chandler P, 2011, 'Contemporary cognitive load theory research: The good, the bad and the ugly', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 27, pp. 99 - 105, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.06.025
    • Zhang L; Ayres P; Chan K, 2011, 'Examining different types of collaborative learning in a complex computer-based environment: A cognitive load approach', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 27, pp. 94 - 98, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.03.038
    • Retnowati E; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2010, 'Worked example effects in individual and group work settings', Educational Psychology, vol. 30, pp. 349 - 367, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01443411003659960
    • Young M; Ayres P; Rogers KB, 2009, 'Getting in: Australian university decision-making processes when gifted learners apply for early admission', Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, vol. 18, pp. 43 - 54
    • Ayres P; Marcus N; Chan C; Qian N, 2009, 'Learning hand manipulative tasks: When instructional animations are superior to equivalent static representations', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 25, pp. 348 - 353, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.12.013
    • Ayres P; Gog TV, 2009, 'State of the art research into Cognitive Load Theory', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 25, pp. 253 - 257, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.12.007
    • Ayres P; Paas F, 2009, 'Interdisciplinary perspectives inspiring a new generation of cognitive load research', Educational Psychology Review, vol. 21, pp. 1 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-008-9090-7
    • Nyhan B; Ayres P, 2009, 'Creating the social foundations for apprenticeship in Ireland', Journal of European Industrial Training, vol. 33, pp. 457 - 469, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/03090590910966599
    • McCormick J; Ayres PL, 2009, 'Teacher self-efficacy and occupational stress: A major Australian curriculum reform revisited', Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 47, pp. 463 - 476, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09578230910967446
    • Wong A; Marcus N; Ayres P; Smith L; Cooper GA; Paas F; Sweller J, 2009, 'Instructional animations can be superior to statics when learning human motor skills', Computers in Human Behavior, vol. 25, pp. 339 - 347, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2008.12.012
    • Van Gog T; Paas F; Marcus N; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2009, 'The mirror neuron system and observational learning: Implications for the effectiveness of dynamic visualizations', Educational Psychology Review, vol. 21, pp. 21 - 30, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10648-008-9094-3
    • Paas F; Van Gog T; Kirschner F; Marcus N; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2008, 'Interdisciplinary perspectives on cognitive load research as a key to tackle challenges of contemporary education', Beyond Knowledge: The Legacy of Competence: Meaningful Computer-based Learning Environments, pp. 7 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-8827-8_2
    • Ayres P; Paas F, 2007, 'Can the cognitive load approach make instructional animations more effective?', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 21, pp. 811 - 820, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1351
    • Ayres P; Paas F, 2007, 'Making intructional animations more effective: A cognitive load approach', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 21, pp. 695 - 700, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1343
    • Mayer RE; Deleeuw KE; Ayres P, 2007, 'Creating retroactive and proactive interference in multimedia learning', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 21, pp. 795 - 809, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1350
    • Young MO; Rogers KL; Ayres PL, 2007, 'The state of early tertiary admission in Australia: 2000 to present', Australasian Journal of Gifted Education, vol. 16, pp. 15 - 25, http://search.informit.com.au/documentSummary;dn=797484890408330;res=IELHSS
    • McCormick J; Ayres PL; Beechey B, 2006, 'Teaching self-efficacy, stress and coping in a major curriculum reform: Applying theory to context', Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 44, pp. 53 - 70, http://dx.doi.org/10.1108/09578230610642656
    • Ayres P, 2006, 'Impact of reducing intrinsic cognitive load on learning in a mathematical domain', Applied Cognitive Psychology, vol. 20, pp. 287 - 298, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/acp.1245
    • Ayres P, 2006, 'Using subjective measures to detect variations of intrinsic cognitive load within problems', Learning and Instruction, vol. 16, pp. 389 - 400, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.learninstruc.2006.09.001
    • McCormick JM; Ayres PL; Beechey B, 2006, 'Teaching self-efficacy, stress and coping in a major curriculum reform', Journal of Educational Administration, vol. 44, pp. 53 - 70
    • Pawley D; Ayres P; Cooper M; Sweller J, 2005, 'Translating words into equations: A cognitive load theory approach', Educational Psychology, vol. 25, pp. 75 - 97, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/0144341042000294903
    • Clarke T; Ayres P; Sweller J, 2005, 'The impact of sequencing and prior knowledge on learning mathematics through spreadsheet applications', Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 53, pp. 15 - 24
    • Ayres PL, 2005, 'The Scaling of HSC English: Myths and Facts', The Scaling of HSC English: Myths and Facts, vol. 142, pp. 10 - 15
    • Merrienboer J; Ayres PL, 2005, 'Research on Cognitive Load Theory and Its Design Implications for E-learning: Introduction to the special issue', Etr&D - Educational Technology Research and Development, vol. 53, pp. 5 - 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/BF02504793
    • Ayres P; Sawyer W; Dinham S, 2004, 'Effective teaching in the context of a Grade 12 high-stakes external examination in New South Wales, Australia', British Educational Research Journal, vol. 30, pp. 141 - 165, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/01411920310001630008
    • Kalyuga S; Ayres P; Chandler P; Sweller J, 2003, 'The expertise reversal effect', Educational Psychologist, vol. 38, pp. 23 - 31
    • Ayres PL, 2001, 'Systematic Mathematical Errors and Cognitive Load', Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 26, pp. 227 - 248, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ceps.2000.1051
    • Ayres PL; Dinham S; Sawyer W, 2000, 'What Does an Effective year 12 English Teacher Look Like?', Stella, vol. 129-130, pp. 51 - 64
    • Ayres PL, 1993, 'Why Goal-Free Problems Can Facilitate Learning', Contemporary Educational Psychology, vol. 18, pp. 376 - 381, http://dx.doi.org/10.1006/ceps.1993.1027

    Conference Papers

    • Wong M; Castro-Alonso JC; Ayres P; Paas F, 2016, 'Learning with instructional animation in a different way', in Learning with instructional animation in a different way, EARLI 2016 SIG6&7, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France, presented at EARLI 2016 SIG6&7, University of Burgundy, Dijon, France, 24 - 26 August 2016
    • ayres P; Castro- Alonso JC; Singh A; Wong M; Marcus N; Paas F, 2015, 'Strategies and Learner Characteristics that Make Instructional Animations Effective', in Shoniregun CA; Akmayera GA (eds.), Published Proceedeings of the 2015 Irish International Conference on Education,, Ireland International Conference on Education, Dublin, pp. 340 - 344, presented at Ireland International Conference on Education, Dublin, 20 - 22 April 2015, http://www.cnr.it/istituti/Allegato_101626.pdf?LO=01000000d9c8b7a6090000000d000000ed13000095819c53000000000100000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000000&type=
    • Ayres P; Kalyuga S; Sweller J, 2012, 'An  application  of  the  imagination  effect  in  a  real-­life   business  training  program', in EARLI SIG 6/7 Conference 2012 Program Book, Universita Degli Studi di Bari, Bari, Italy, pp. 189 - 191, presented at Instructional design for advancing learning in a networked society, Bari, Italy, 11 - 13 September 2012, http://earli-sig67.slo.nl/
    • Bellec D; Tricot A; Ayres P, 2012, 'A comparison of different levels of interactions when using the isolated-elements strategy', in STAGING KNOWLEDGE AND EXPERIENCE: HOW TO TAKE ADVANTAGE OF REPRESENTATIONAL TECHNOLOGIES IN EDUCATION AND TRAINING?, Université Pierre-Mendès-France, Grenoble, France, pp. 31 - 33, presented at EARLI SIG2 Meeting 2012, Grenoble, France, 28 - 31 August 2012, http://earlisig2-2012.upmf-grenoble.fr/
    • Youssef A; Ayres PL; Sweller SM, 2010, 'Evidence for a teachable/learnable general problem solving strategy', in Evidence for a teachable/learnable general problem solving strategy, 4th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Hong Kong, presented at 4th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Hong Kong, 22 - 25 November 2010
    • Ayres PL, 2010, 'Reducing intrinsic cognitive load: Different strategies with a common explanation', in Published Proceedings of the 2010 EARLI SIG 6/7 Conference, In T. Seufert, G. Corbalan, J. Zumbach & B. Logorio (Eds.), Ulm, Germany, pp. 164 - 166, presented at 2010 EARLI SIG 6/7 Conference, Ulm, Germany, 01 August 2010
    • Ayres PL, 2010, 'Can Australians mark KS3 mathematics exams? A study in cultural differences', in Published Proceedings of the 7th British Congress of Mathematics Education, In M. Joubert & P. Andrews (Eds.), Manchester, UK, pp. 25 - 32, presented at 7th British Congress of Mathematics Education, Manchester, UK, 01 April 2010
    • Ayres P; Youssef A, 2008, 'Investigating the influence of transitory information and motivation during instructional animations', in Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning Conference, CSCL, pp. 68 - 75
    • Ayres PL; McCormick JM, 2006, 'Grade 12 Mathematics Teachers` Views on Curriculum Reform in NSW', in Annual Conference 29 Maths Education Research Group of Australasia, Annual Conference 29 Maths Education Research Group of Australasia, Canberra, presented at Annual Conference 29 Maths Education Research Group of Australasia, Canberra, 01 - 05 July 2006
    • Ayres PL; McCormick JM; Beechey B, 2003, 'Teachers` Perceptions of the Implementation of the New South Wales Higher School Certificate', in Cowley T; Williamson J (eds.), AARE Conference Papers - Electronic, AARE, Brisbane, Qld, presented at AARE 2002: Australian Association for Research in Education National Conference, Brisbane, Qld, 01 - 05 December 2002
    • Way J; Ayres PL, 2002, 'The stability of young students probability notions', in International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Norwich, UK, presented at International Group for the Psychology of Mathematics Education, Norwich, UK, 21 - 26 July 2002
    • Ayres PL; Way J, 2001, 'The effects of instruction on likelihood misconceptions', in 25th conference of the international group for the Psychology of mathematics education, 25th conference of the international group for the Psychology of mathematics education, Utrecht, the Netherlands, presented at 25th conference of the international group for the Psychology of mathematics education, Utrecht, the Netherlands, 01 January 2001
    • Ayres PL; Sawyer W; Dinham S, 2001, 'Effective teaching and student independance of Grade 12', in AERA Annual Conference, AERA Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, USA, pp. 1 - 2, presented at AERA Annual Conference, Seattle, Washington, USA, 10 - 14 April 2001
    • Ayres PL, 2000, 'An analysis of bracket expansion errors', in PME 24, PME 24, Hiroshima Japan 2000, presented at PME 24, Hiroshima Japan 2000, 23 - 27 July 2000
    • Ayres PL; Way J, 2000, 'Knowing the Sample Space or Not: The Effects on Decision Making', in PME 24, PME 24, Hiroshima Japan 2000, presented at PME 24, Hiroshima Japan 2000, 23 - 27 July 2000
    • Ayres PL, 2000, 'Mental effort and errors in bracket expansion tasks', in Mathematics Education Beyond 2000, 23rd annual conference of the mathematics education research group of Australasia incorporated, Fremantle, WA, presented at 23rd annual conference of the mathematics education research group of Australasia incorporated, Fremantle, WA, 05 - 09 July 2000

    Conference Presentations

    • Ayres P; Mierowsky R; Marcus N, 2016, 'The Impact of Gesturing when Learning to Play Piano Clips from Animations', in ICLTC 2016, The 9th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Bochum, Germany, presented at The 9th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Bochum, Germany, 22 - 24 June 2016, http://icltc2016.de/schedule/
    • Marcus N; Lajevardi N; Ayres P, 2016, 'Does gesturing improve the learning of human motor skills for children, when learning from instructional animation and statics?', in ICLTC 2016, The 9th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Bochum, Germany, presented at The 9th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Bochum, Germany, 22 - 24 June 2016
    • Marcus N; Ayres P; narang N, 2013, 'Does adding gestures to both instructional animations and statics improve learning human motor skills?', in Does adding gestures to both instructional animations and statics improve learning human motor skills?, 6th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Toulouse, France, presented at 6th International Cognitive Load Theory Conference, Toulouse, France, 26 - 28 June 2013

Teaching

Undergraduate courses
EDST 1101 Educational Psychology 1
An introduction to the study of educational psychology which examines some aspects of development and of learning and instruction. Topics include: cognitive development, development of memory, the role of knowledge, problem solving and thinking, and an introduction to instructional methods.

Postgraduate courses
EDST5303 Human Cognitive Architecture
How human beings think, reason and solve problems. The basics of what is known about human thinking, including the major concepts, methods and research findings which have been produced overt he last half century, along with relevant applications.

Professional contribution

Associate Editor for Applied Cognitive Psychology (2010-)

Chair for Division C Section 7 (Technology Research): 2009 American Education Research Association Annual Conference, San Diego

Conference Chair for the First International Conference on Cognitive Load Theory (March 2007, Sydney, Australia)

Media appearance on ABC Catalyst: TV Program on Cognitive Load Theory (2007)

Sabbaticals
2008 The Centre for Learning Sciences and Technologies, Open University of the Netherlands, Heerlen, NL
2004 Department of Psychology, University of California, Santa Barbara, USA.