The attempts to train nurses to effectively use information systems have had mixed results. One problem is that training materials are not adequately designed to guide trainees to gradually learn to use a system without experiencing a heavy cognitive load. This is because training design often does not take into consideration a learner's cognitive ability to absorb new information in a short training period. Given the high cost and difficulty of organising training in healthcare organisations, there is an urgent need for information system trainers to be aware of how cognitive overload or information overload affect a trainee's capability to acquire new knowledge and skills, and what instructional techniques can be used to facilitate effective learning.
This paper introduces the concept of cognitive load and how it affects nurses when learning to use a new health information system. This is followed by the relevant strategies for instructional design, underpinned by the principles of cognitive load theory, which may be helpful for the development of effective instructional materials and activities for training nurses to use information systems.
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