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In order to reduce an observed gap in Year 1 performance between students who had and had not completed chemistry at Leaving Certificate in a first year chemistry group, an intervention based on cognitive load theory was implemented. Students completed ten pre-lecture resources before associated lectures. The resources took no longer than five minutes to complete and aimed to introduce students to the core terminology of the lecture. Resources were designed with the principles of cognitive load theory and multimedia resources in mind. They were administered through the DIT Webcourses virtual learning environment and students obtained feedback on a short quiz and a mark in the gradebook after completing each resource quiz. The resources were integrated into the lecture activity, increasing in-class discussion. After implementing the resources, the performances in a mid-semester exam and the end of year exam was examined. For the first time, students’ prior knowledge was not a predictor of performance in these exams. The work resulted in dissemination at several national and international conferences, an accepted journal publication and a Teaching and Learning award.

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