Cognitive Load is the amount of required mental effort / resources that is needed to perform a specific task.
Usually three types of Cognitive Load are described:
- Intrinsic: The inherent “cost” that derive from task complexity, like an “intrinsic hard task” causes always high load.
- Extraneous: Costs derived from quality of communicating a task (presentation of instructions / information), like a badly described task causes higher load than a well described one.
- Germane: Load generated by integrating learning and constructing new Mental Models.
The difference between Intrinsic and Germane in reference to the complexity of the Mental Model: Germane accounts for the cost of building the models, whereas Intrinsic accounts for the costs of using the models.