Principles for Effective Practice Exercises


What, according to you, are the most effective guidelines you can follow while creating practice exercises in your e-learning? Do we need to add more questions or a fewer question in our courses?

Principles for Effective Practice Exercises

I was going through the book, e-Learning and the Science of Instruction by Ruth Colvin Clark & Richard E Mayer to refresh my mind and update my knowledge. Here, I would like to share the principles for effective practice exercises, which I follow for creating practice exercises from this book.

Principles for Effective Practice Exercises

Principle 1: Interactions should mirror the job

  • The features and processes of the practice exercises used in e-learning must match the features and process of the work environment (job-realistic context).
  • The job-realistic context activities get encoded into the long-term memory and help in easy retrieval of information at the job.
  • Avoid using recognize or recall information as it doesn’t transfer learning to the job.
  • Simulation questions require learners to make certain kinds of decisions. Hence, they are more likely to support transfer of learning.

Principle 2: Critical tasks require more practice

  • Use as many good questions as you can as they enhance learning and improve your performance.
  • For critical tasks, use lots of practice exercises and, in those places where job skills can be gained at work, use fewer practice exercises.
  • Practice exercises should be distributed throughout a lesson as they result in better long-term retention.

Principle 3: Apply the media elements principle

  • The directions for practice exercises should be distinguished by placement, color or font and placed adjacent to the question.
  • Feedback should be placed near the question and response area.
  • The learner should see four components on the screen when they answer a question – directions, question, response and feedback.
  • Do not narrate on-screen text directions or practice questions.

Principle 4: Train learners to self-question during receptive e-lessons

  • There are certain situations where learners need to learn from the lesson that lacks practice.
  • Learners can learn by asking questions regarding the content presented – this is known as receptive learning.
  • Provide learners with generic question stems, worked examples or job aids.

Do you follow any specific guidelines while creating practice exercise? Please share your thoughts on this subject here.

Instructional Design 101: A Handy Reference Guide to E-learning Designers

Recent Comments

  • http://Joe%20Nobiling

    8/08/2011 at 6:57 pm

    Practice exercises or knowledge checks are important to learning. How many probably depends upon the type and/or complexity of the material presented as well as the learner. Thus, it could vary from learning module to learning module.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Copy link