What are worked examples?

4 mins read
Tara Walsh

A worked example demonstrates all the steps required to complete a task or solve a problem. By scaffolding student learning through practical demonstration, worked examples support skill acquisition while reducing a learner’s cognitive load. Essentially, by seeing it done, students can often pick up steps faster or with increased confidence.

What do worked examples look like?

Worked examples feature routinely in subjects where problem-solving is a prominent goal, such as Maths, Science and other technical subjects. The educator presents a worked example, explaining each step as they go. Students are then asked to explain the solution and answer follow up questions. This may look like a step-through of an algebraic equation in senior Maths or a junior secondary Physics question about forces.

Benefits of using worked examples

Useful for revision

Students can use worked examples during their independent practice, to review and embed new knowledge. Textbooks provide examples, with numerous samples to be found online. Or, you can create your own.

Offer learning benefits in many studies

Worked examples are useful in a range of subjects, especially if students have low levels of prior knowledge. There are ways to maximise the benefits of using worked examples. Teacher-explained examples should ideally alternate with problems for students to solve on their own. This allows students to gradually build their expertise and confidence to complete questions independently.

How ClickView helps you use worked examples

Many ClickView videos provide step-by-step guidance for solving problems. Students are encouraged to watch these videos to see multiple worked examples.

The next step in the worked examples strategy is self-explanations, which are crucial to get the full worked example effect. It’s one thing for students to work out the answer, but another to be able to explain their process. To help scaffold this particular type of learning, you can place interactive questions into a worked example video to get students thinking about how a problem is being solved.


Teaching Strategies Worked Examples

4 tips to help you implement worked examples effectively

  1. Alternate worked examples with independent questions
    Worked examples are a natural fit for STEM areas and problem-solving based learning. Remember to alternate them with questions for students to solve independently. There are plenty of resources available on ClickView to get you started.
  2. Use worked examples for complex tasks
    Worked examples can also be useful for any complex task accompanied by detailed annotation and explanations of the solution, such as an annotated video.
  3. Think like a beginner
    When creating worked examples, try to tap into your long-lost novice. Think about how beginners may think about the subject and anticipate difficulties they may have with the problem.
  4. Start a new topic with worked examples
    Worked examples are useful for students beginning a new topic. Once there is some level of understanding, you can gradually withdraw worked examples to let students solve problems on their own. Research shows that there is an expert reversal shift in which worked examples can hamper the progress of students who already know the basics and need to develop fluency in solving problems on their own. Allow students who have a solid grasp of the basics to develop this skill, to encourage their progress.

Using worked examples with ClickView

  1. Search the collection
    ClickView is home to lots of great samples of worked example videos. Search the primary or secondary library for examples, using terms such as Numeracy, secondary Maths or secondary Science. Explore the complete video collection.
  2. Worked examples in further education
    Worked example videos can be useful when teaching in the higher education space, for courses or subjects with practical or process-driven components. Numeracy in Construction and Numeracy in Retail are two series that help support further education students to apply practical knowledge around calculating volume for building and mental maths for cash handling.
  3. Collaborate with others and share teaching ideas
    Can you think of a good idea for a worked examples activity or video? Film it and share it so our community of educators can learn from you. Try it as a collaborative activity with your team or department to brainstorm some ideas and see what you can come up with.
  4. Keep students engaged in learning
    We love to help out with engaging teaching resources, supporting you to maximise the use of ClickView in your classroom or learning environment. Explore our comprehensive collection of educational resources, such as teaching strategies advice for setting goals, asking questions and structuring lessons, to keep your students engaged.

Use teaching strategies effectively to help your students achieve their best

A ClickView subscription offers full access to 1000s of curriculum-aligned videos, including all supporting educational resources. We’re here to help you with the advice you need on a range of teaching strategies, such as worked examples, to achieve optimum student learning outcomes. ClickView also offers ongoing training to make sure you get the most out of this fantastic learning resource. You can watch videos on our training channel, register for webinars or contact our customer success team at any time.