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Improve eLearning Problem-Solving with Worked Examples

elearning training Sep 21, 2023
Employee attending an eLearning course remotely

The Worked Examples Principle argues for the inclusion of fully worked-out examples in eLearning courses, particularly when teaching problem-solving skills. Worked examples serve as a step-by-step guide to solving problems, offering learners an effective model to follow.

How Does the Worked Examples Principle Enhance Employee Performance?

By reducing cognitive load and providing clear problem-solving models, worked examples enhance comprehension and skill acquisition. This learning transfer improves employee proficiency and workplace performance.

Here are examples of how you may see this principle applied to improve eLearning.

  • PoorStarting a training with complex, unsolved problems.
  • Better: Providing step-by-step solutions for complex problems.
  • Best: Beginning with solved examples and gradually moving to problem-solving exercises.

  • PoorA math eLearning course jumps into exercises without providing worked examples.
  • Better: The course provides some worked examples, but they lack detail.
  • Best: The course provides detailed, step-by-step worked examples before presenting the exercises.

  • PoorAn eLearning module on software debugging includes only theoretical explanations without practical demonstrations.
  • Better: The module includes some worked examples of debugging scenarios.
  • Best: The module provides detailed, step-by-step worked examples for a variety of common debugging scenarios.

  • PoorA course on statistical analysis provides practice problems without worked examples.
  • Better: The course provides a few worked examples but lacks sufficient detail.
  • Best: The course provides comprehensive, step-by-step worked examples prior to the practice problems, enhancing understanding and skill acquisition.

Your next steps. Reevaluate your eLearning courses, particularly those that involve problem-solving. Integrate detailed worked examples to provide clear problem-solving models and enhance learning effectiveness.


Sweller, J., & Cooper, G. A. (1985). The Use of Worked Examples as a Substitute for Problem Solving in Learning Algebra. Cognition and Instruction, 2(1), 59-89.
Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2016). E-Learning and the Science of Instruction: Proven Guidelines for Consumers and Designers of Multimedia Learning. John Wiley & Sons.