The practice section of the learning objects model provides opportunities for learners to apply the key concepts, principles and procedures learned in the content section by incorporating guided and deliberate exercises. Practice could be implemented through traditional self-assessment methods such as multiple-choice quizzes or non-traditional methods such as games and simulations.
Practice and Learning Objective Connection
Appropriate practice opportunities address the stated learning objective. In other words, practice should be in sync with the learning objective at hand.
Practice opportunities should address the different dimensions of the corresponding learning objective.
In the early stages of practice, provide plenty of guidance and cues. As learners gradually advance to more challenging practice exercises, guidance and cues should be removed to facilitate the acquisition of skills delineated in the learning objective.
For example, if the learning objective entails problem solving, in the early stages of practice, the exercise should provide the rules needed to solve the problem, require learners to differentiate between correct and incorrect answers, and break the tasks into a step-by-step process. Then, in an intermediate problem solving exercise, learners would actually correct an incorrect answer to a problem, i.e., correct a non-example. Finally, learners could be asked to solve a problem without any help and to provide their own solutions.
To minimize confusion or wrong association of responses to the different prompts incorporated in the exercise, the following design guidelines are helpful:
- Chunk the content to be practiced in subsections to progressively introduce new material as learners master old material.
- Compare and contrast similar practice exercises to help learners develop the expertise in the identification of the differences in the subject matter.
- As learners acquire new knowledge, reviewing old concepts is also important.
- Provide feedback on students’ performance along the way.
- Provide corrective, substantive and/or remedial feedback as appropriate.