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Version 1.1 – Updated August 2021

Worked examples

Overview

  • Influence: Worked examples
  • Domain: Teaching Strategies
  • Sub-Domain: Success criteria
  • Potential to Accelerate Student Achievement: Likely to have positive impact
  • Influence Definition: A worked example is a problem statement with step-by-step guidelines for finding the solution. Based on the assumption that human beings have limited working memory, worked examples enable students to focus on discrete problem-solving tasks, rather than attempting to hold each of the steps in their working memory while solving a complex problem. In a “faded solutions” variant of the worked example, subsequent problem statements have fewer and fewer instructions until the student is able to complete the complex problem-solving task without the assistance of step-by-step guidelines.

Evidence

  • Number of meta-analyses: 2
  • Number of studies: 83
  • Number of students: 3,324
  • Number of effects: 179
  • Effect size: 0.37

Meta-Analyses

Meta-Analyses
Journal Title Author First Author's Country Article Name Year Published Variable Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Effect Size
Unpublished Thesis Crissman USA The Design and Utilization of Effective Worked Examples: A Meta-Analysis 2006 Worked examples on achievement 62 3,324 151 0.57
Educational Psychology Review Wittwer & Renkl Germany How effective are instructional explanations in example-based learning? A meta-analytic review 2010 Worked examples on achievement 21 0 28 0.16
TOTAL/AVERAGE 83 3,324 179 0.37

Confidence

The Confidence is the average of these four measures, each divided into five approximately equal groups and assigned a value from 1 to 5 based on the following criteria:

  • Number of Meta-analyses
    • 1 = 1
    • 2 = 2–3
    • 3 = 4–6
    • 4 = 7–9
    • 5 = 10+
  • Number of Studies
    • 1 = 1–10
    • 2 = 11–50
    • 3 = 51–200
    • 4 = 201–400
    • 5 = 400+
  • Number of Students
    • 1 = 1–2,500
    • 2 = 2,501–10,000
    • 3 = 10,000–20,000
    • 4 = 20,000–100,000
    • 5 = 100,001+
  • Number of Effects
    • 1 = 1–100
    • 2 = 101–300
    • 3 = 301–600
    • 4 = 601–1,200
    • 5 = 1,200+
Confidences
Number of Meta-Analyses Number of Studies Number of Students Number of Effects Overall Confidence
Confidence Factor 2 3 2 2 2
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