Reference Work Entry

Encyclopedia of the Sciences of Learning

pp 3467-3471

Worked Example Effect

  • Paul AyresAffiliated withSchool of Education, University of New South Wales Email author 


Example-based learning; Learning from examples; Learning from model answers; Studying expert solutions; The worked example effect


A worked example provides a step-by-step solution to a problem or task. The worked example effect occurs when learning is enhanced by studying worked examples to problems rather than by trying to solve the original problems. It is a form of direct instruction. In learning new material learners are shown fully worked examples to study instead of trying to work out the solution steps. The most effective format is for learners to study a worked example and then immediately after, try to solve a problem with similar features. This example-problem pair format is repeated over a number of iterations building to a complete set of problems that students need to learn in order to master the new materials. Extensive research has shown that for novices in particular, this pairing methodology of study-solve, leads to superior performan ...

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