Worked example principle

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Brief statement of principle

Description of principle

"In courses that are teaching new tasks, learning time can be saved by replacing some practice problems with worked examples" (Clark & Mayer, 2004, p. 177). In addition, most studies comparing interleaved worked examples and problems with all problmes have also shown improved learning outcomes, including robust learning outcomes.

Operational definition


Experimental support

Laboratory experiment support

In vivo experiment support

Theoretical rationale

(These entries should link to one or more learning processes.)

"Working memory has a limited capacity that becomes inefficient when having to retain even a few items.  If the only way to build job-relevant skills is to perform many practice exercises, working memory can become overloaded by the mental work required to complete these exercises.  However, iflimited working memory resources could be used to study worked examples and build new knowledge from them, some of this labor- intensive effort could be bypassed.  Worked examples are more efficient for learning new tasks because they reduce the load in working memory, thereby allowing the learner to learn the steps in problem solving." 

Clark, Mayer, 2004 (pp178-179)

Conditions of application

Caveats, limitations, open issues, or dissenting views

Variations (descendants)

Generalizations (ascendants)