Integrated Instructions

AQA Biology Practicals   ||   AQA Chemistry Practicals

AQA Physics Practicals   ||   Shared drive  || Another shared drive || Templates

Journal of Chemical Education paper

ASE Annual Conference 2020 – Presentation Slides || Conference talk

Integrated instructions are a method of instruction for practical work that aim to reduce the cognitive load on students during the practical session. This is achieved by integrating simple practical diagrams, minimal textual instruction, arrows and pictograms. The integration of the diagram with the text aim to reduce split attention (Ayers & Sweller, 2005) which is a source of extraneous cognitive load. The instructions are a development from work by Dechsri et al. (1997) and Haslam & Hamilton (2010) and have been applied mainly to 11-16 practical work in UK schools.

The development of integrated instructions have formed the basis of a J. Chem. Ed. paper, available here:


I wrote an article for the RSC Education in Chemistry magazine which summarises the work : Improving practical work with integrated instructions (November 2018)

The main integrated instructions I have developed are for

My, and other peoples, integrated instructions are all available on a shared drive :

The development of the instructions have been detailed in a range of blog posts, conference posters and presentations:

  • Some initial thoughts about cognitive load theory and practical work: July 2017
  • I was awarded an RSC Chemical Education Research Group Teacher Fellow grant to support my development work: November 2017
  • Early development work and data collection: January 2018
  • Templates for my integrated instructions made available to all: February 2018
  • My poster on integrated instructions won the 2018 #RSCPoster #RSCEdu competition: March 2018
  • Emerging themes from my in-school data collection : April 2018
  • Integrated instructions for AQA Physics released: July 2018 and February 2019 and April 2019
  • My poster on integrated instructions won the judges prize at ViCEPhEC 2018
  • I discussed integrated instructions at CLEAPSS: September 2018 and at ASE National Conference in Birmingham: January 2019 and a couple of conferences in June 2019
  • Integrated instructions for AQA Biology released: June 2019


Chandler, P., Sweller, J. The split-attention effect as a factor in the design of instruction. Brit. J. Educ. Psychol. 1992, 62, 233-246. DOI: 10.1111/j.2044-8279.1992.tb01017.x

Dechsri, P., Jones, L.L., Heikkinen, H.W. Effect of a laboratory manual design incorporating visual information‐processing aids on student learning and attitudes. J. Res. Sci. Teach. 1997, 34(9), 891-904. DOI: 10.1002/(SICI)1098-2736(199711)34:9<891::AID-TEA4>3.0.CO;2-P

Haslam, C.Y., Hamilton, R.J. Investigating the Use of Integrated Instructions to Reduce the Cognitive Load Associated with Doing Practical Work in Secondary School Science. Int. J. Sci. Educ. 2010, 32, 1715-1735. DOI: 10.1080/09500690903183741