Learning from examples: Instructional principles from the worked examples research

Robert K. Atkinson, Sharon J. Derry, Alexander Renkl, Donald Wortham

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

691 Scopus citations


Worked examples are instructional devices that provide an expert's problem solution for a learner to study. Worked-examples research is a cognitive-experimental program that has relevance to classroom instruction and the broader educational research community. A framework for organizing the findings of this research is proposed, leading to instructional design principles. For instance, one instructional design principle suggests that effective examples have highly integrated components. They employ multiple modalities in presentation and emphasize conceptual structure by labeling or segmenting. At the lesson level, effective instruction employs multiple examples for each conceptual problem type, varies example formats within problem type, and employs surface features to signal deep structure. Also, examples should be presented in close proximity to matched practice problems. Moreover, learners can be encouraged through direct training or by the structure of the worked example to actively self-explain examples. Worked examples are associated with early stages of skill development, but the design principles are relevant to constructivist research and teaching.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)181-214
Number of pages34
JournalReview of Educational Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2000
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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