Learners must integrate content that enters working memory from the training environment into related knowledge structures previously stored in long-term memory to build a new mental model. For this integration to occur, these knowledge structures must transfer from long-term memory into working memory. This process is called activation of prior knowledge. Activation of relevant prior knowledge is an essential instructional event that must occur early in instruction.
In some situations, learners lack relevant prior knowledge. In these cases a high-level overview of the lesson content improves learning by providing a structure on which to hang new content.
Some attempts to gain ...