Readings: E-Learning: Chapter 12


Chapter 12—Does Practice Make Perfect? (pages 250–276)

Read the Chapter. Write your response by Thursday. Reply to at least 2 people’s posts. :heart: at least 3 that seem interesting, provocative, that you agree with, or otherwise wish to acknowledge. At least one of your responses should be written after Thursday when everyone has had a chance to post. Ideally, you’ll participate on at least three different days. @sjmasline @pattijohnson

What to Look for

The big question C& M (2011) raise in chapter 12 is should instructional designers include practice in their instruction.

The short answer- YES!

But, it is best for long term learning for the practice to be spaced throughout the instruction and combined with some prior multimedia principles, we have learned.

C & M discuss interactions, which are practice events. DEFINITION: structured opportunities for the learners to engage with the content by responding to a question or taking an action to solve a problem. (Clark & Mayer, 2011, pp. 467)

The instructor must consider the psychological effectiveness of the event vs. the format of the event. Deliberate practice involves five basic elements:

(1) Effortful exertion to improve performance

(2) Intrinsic motivation to engage in the task

(3) Tailored tasks that focus on weaknesses

(4) Feedback that provides knowledge of results

(5) Continued repetition. (Clark & Mayer, 2011, pp. 256)

C & M also presented six principles of practice:

[1] Principle 1- Add sufficient practice interactions

[2] Principle 2- Mirror the job

[3] Principle 3- Provide effective feedback

[4] Principle 4 - Distribute and mix practice among learning events

[5] Principle 5- Apply multimedia principles

[6] Principle 6- Transition from examples to practice gradually

Research concludes some of the following ideas:

• Practice can lead to growth, but it does not necessarily lead to proficiency.

• Practice is necessary, but will not guarantee competency.

• Practice does not equal expertise but deliberate practice does.

#Now, it’s your turn to practice: - You are currently creating an assessment in your moodle course. Add an example of practice that corresponds with C & M’s ideas about practice. Also, add a description of how you would use feedback for your practice example. Share your practice and how you applied the principles with the class. You can use screen shots if that helps.


Practice is very important in mastering tasks, and unlike C&M I am NOT going to mention sports in my post :slight_smile:! I think practice is even more important in an e-learning environment than face-to-face learning due to the fact the learner could “think” they understand the task or concept and don’t realize how to implement it without practice. It is the practice that proves understanding and knowledge transfer. However, as C&M state the practice must be meaningful and provide valid feedback to be beneficial to the learner.

We heavily use CBTs and incorporate different practice exercises throughout all training events. As an example, when learning to fly under Instrument Flight Rules (flying in the clouds), a pilot needs to have a solid understanding of all the rules and how they apply to the different stages of flight. This is true for new pilots and seasoned pilots, who also need the practice to “refresh” their knowledge. Below is a question from one of these training events. It references a malfunction in the airport light system that requires additional visibility to be added onto the approach in order to land. If the wrong answer is selected, the training module walks the student through the rules and regulations and how to calculate the visibility on the fly (and if it applies to helicopters or not).

These types of practice ensure the learner has a good understanding of the regulation, and how to apply the correction factor to a real world example. This has proven to be an effective way to transfer knowledge.


I like the way you describe practice as a way to “refresh” knowledge. In today’s society teachers are giving the task to teach a large number of concepts in a given amount of time and keep moving on with the curriculum. It is important for both face-to-face and e-learning environments to provide enough practice so the concepts are maintained not forgotten.


My fourth graders are having difficulty demonstrating convertion using customary units.

I created a practice quiz in Moodle providing explanatory feedback. According to C & M a “missed question is a teachable moment.”

My students need to practice those skills and receive immediate feedback, however, the most important aspect of the practice is to understand why the answer is wrong.

I like the way C & M explained how to present the feedback.

The feedback needs to be positioned so the learner see the question. His or her response to the question and the feedback is placed in close physical approximation to minimize split attention.

The following example from my Moodle assessment illustrates that concept:

The authors also recommend to focus learner attention to the task, not the learner.

Therefore the feedback above (in yellow) should be rephrase to provide some kind of process feedback by mentioning the strategies the student used. It should read as:

"You knew that there are 16 ounces in one pound.

You also knew that converting from a small unit to a larger unit you need it to divide

As a result you were able to answer that there are 2 pounds in 32 ounces"


I like your immediate feedback and rational involved in your practice. It can be frustrating to practice and not realize you have not been practicing the correct technique. The immediate feedback makes the continues practice more beneficial and builds on the learners knowledge base. -Patti

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@nrhudson This is a great point. Not only is it important to aim students at the correct knowledge, you also must make sure they can build long term memory and skills for transfer. Practice allows for transfer to a real world situation.

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@acwetter I agree with you about this. When I was teaching English, I found that I was constantly having to reteach concepts that should have been learned and retained from earlier grades. It was always so frustrating to have to reteach about nouns, when I knew they had learned about them since kindergarten!


Great what to use a mistake and turn it into understanding. I always like and learn more from assessments that give me some reasons about why what I did was wrong. C & M demonstrate the research shows that this is the best for learning.


@sjmasline & @pattijohnson It is even more frustrating trying to fix something that a student has been practicing wrong for a while. I wish we could reach every child and teach error-less learning.


I agree that this is a very difficult skill for students to grasp. I like how you used different customary units in your one question and that the feedback gives a detailed explanation to figuring out the correct answer.


For the following example, I would have no more than 3 similar questions as practice problems. As stated by C&M, this will be a sufficient amount of math problems without “over-learning”.

According to C&M, research studies demonstrated that better learning resulted from explanatory feedback. This example focuses on the explanation and feedback showing the student’s understanding of the formula for finding volume. Phrases like “well done” and “you are correct” were avoided so that the attention stayed on learning. The feedback explains why they are correct with an explanation of the formula that was used to find the correct answer.

The problem I run into as a teacher is that I am not given much time to sit down and write notes on every assessment. It is difficult for one teacher with a class size of 25 or more. I do, however, give feedback and focus progress over an 8 week period of time making sure that I show them their improvement over time. One area that has shown significant improvement with this method is timed multiplication and division fact drills on a weekly basis. I use the coherence principle during my timed drill practice in my class by turning the lights down and have no distractions while testing.

Below is a second example:

According to C&M, I am applying the contiguity principle since I am using text for my question that is closely aligned to the graphics it is explaining. I have also included relevant visuals in one area as the authors suggested for multimedia principles. This question was designed with the application of appropriate multimedia principles.


I agree totally and feel that when @pfaffman decided to use webquests to work on our computer skills, he definitely had this in mind. The more practice we get on a certain quest, the easier it comes.

No matter what we all seem to be practicing, explanatory feedback helps with the transfer of knowledge. Subject matter experts should be consulted if the information being presented is fairly new to the presenter. The SME may have a better and more precise way to provide feedback.


After reading the chapter, specifically the six principles of practice, Principle 2 stood out: Mirror the job. There isn’t a better way to mirror the job than with hands on simulations. Simulations are an important way to transfer knowledge in the medical field. There is an educational lab set up in the NICU that is available to the employees as well as students. The lab has dummies that can be set up for different scenarios for resuscitation in the delivery room and also ongoing care in the NICU. The following are screenshots of the information that is discussed on the employee side and also on the instructor side.

For the simulations, verbal feedback is given during the process and also at the end when the class sits down and has a question and answer session about the entire resuscitative simulation process. It is important for a subject matter expert to be on hand to answer the questions that may arise. Understanding the resuscitative effort is an ongoing practice because one cannot get complacent and think they have it mastered. The resuscitative team never knows the exact situation of the delivery until the newborn is placed on the bed and resuscitation begins.


Webquests!? Oh. I guess that these challenges do amount to “webquests.” Maybe that’s why I never really understood what a webquest was. It’s just solving problems.


When the class or course allows, I have learned to review “foundation” concepts. It helps me plan exactly where I need to begin. A quick review helps in most cases. As a student, I always appreciated the instructor who began with what I should already know. That gave me a chance to look up things that I used to know. :wink:


I like how you emphasized the importance to give feedback that focus on learning.

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##Chapter 12

C&M state that e-learning practice events are often referred to as interactions. Adding practice to e-learning activities can sometimes double the length of the course. Course length is always a concern in staff development as we want employees to complete the training “on the clock”. The watch, try, do method seems to be the best fit for effective practice. Since we most often begin with a screen shot or a screencast, it satisfies the multimedia principle. The same concepts can be used in an e-learning assessment by creating “hot spots” on an image. The difficult part for me is developing some type of score for that assessment. We most often use corrective feedback on scored assessments and explanatory feedback throughout the course when answers are not scored.

I chose an example that I thought used effective feedback. The feedback is conversational and focuses on the explanation. The feedback is immediate and appears on the same slide as the response. This example is from an Articulate blog.


Thank you for teaching about “hot spot” on an image. Your interaction example illustrated it well.


My moodle course is IDD doctoral exam preparation, basically, it prepares IDD students with the “Big comps”. One of the assignments would be asking pairs to pick ten most important objectives of each course learned in IDD Ph.D program and ask their partner the related questions. I think this practice involves effortful exertion to improve performance, intrinsic motivation to engage in the task since communication between partners is involved, it’s also a tailored task focusing on possible weaknesses, partner can get the feedback from each other right after they answer the questions, and by partners asking each other questions and providing the feedback, they actually are repeating the practice themselves!

For this particular assessment, pairs are asked to submit the questions they found as well as the answers to the questions and the partners performance on those questions. As the instructor, I would add some neglected yet important objectives and related sample questions asked in previous comps and may add to their suggested answers while reviewing the questions, suggested answers, and their performance. I would also provide them with a complete list of often asked sample questions.

By doing this, I think I am applying the principle of adding sufficient practice interactions since communication between partners are involved. Also, principle of providing effective feedback as well as principle of transition from examples to practice gradually are used in my practice, too.


I could not find an example that I liked for the life of me, so I went ahead and created one of my own. Every year my company has all the employees take security and safety compliance training. The below is a type of question (practice) you would find throughout the training module. I chose to focus on the principle of “effective feedback”.

(Picture provided by Getty Images)

It takes a bit of work to provide an answer for each multiple choice, but I think it assists with cognitive processing. I do think it could be omitted if the general feedback response includes enough information to be the response regardless of the answer chosen. When creating this quiz in Moodle I made sure to choose “immediate feedback” on the quiz design page for question behavior. This ensure that a learner’s feedback is not held till the completion of the quiz. learning practice.

Why did I decide to include an image when it was not necessary? I thought the image supported the lesson in that you cannot judge a person based on what they look like. Protocols are set to keep us and the company safe. Always ask to see the other person’s badge! :slight_smile: