The Working Memory Story: Why Is It Difficult to Understand Chemistry?
This traces through the developments that generated new chemistry curricula in the 1960s and the difficulties that school learners found with the new approaches that tried to lay greater emphasis on understanding. The key research is summarised briefly. One of the modern insights is that we can interpret and make sense of so many aspects of learning at all levels simply by considering the nature and function of the working memory. What Johnstone established nearly 40 years ago was the central place of limited working memory capacity in making sense of the difficulties our students often have when seeking to understand chemistry.