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Unpacking Tutorials: The Pedagogical Structure and Why It Works

Unpacking Tutorials: The Pedagogical Structure and Why It Works

The research-proven acceleration model is one increasingly taking hold in classrooms across the country, but the combination of teaching grade-level content while intermittently dipping down to close essential gaps is not an easy one to prepare for in regular lesson planning. Content in Apex Learning Tutorials, Edmentum’s 6-12 on-grade acceleration program, however, is specifically designed to do just that based on learner needs. Tutorials ensure that students get comprehensive exposure to essential prerequisite skills and on-grade instruction aligned to the course they are enrolled in or the end-of-course or college readiness exam they’re preparing for. In this post, let’s dig into how Tutorials are structured and why this methodology works for students.

How are Tutorials Organized?

Each Tutorial is organized into units. Within each unit, discrete standalone modules are designed to teach specific objectives. Each four-part module—with sections titled Learn It, Try It, Review It, and Test It—provides a unique instructional approach to build knowledge, develop critical thinking, and deepen understanding. Students can move through the module in any order, and teachers can assign students an entire unit or specific modules.


Each topic starts with an optional pretest to identify the concepts students have already mastered and determine which students would benefit from prerequisite skill support. This is the most powerful acceleration component of the program, ensuring students receive the support they need, while only covering the most essential prerequisite skills via suggested topics, so learning stays on track. Conversely, a pretest can indicate if students have mastered the topic and can move forward more quickly.

Learn It

This piece of the module provides direct instruction that hooks students into active learning. “Learn It” introduces the concept with real-world examples to help students connect with the material. In this active learning, students do something, see something, move something, say something, or explain something every 15 to 20 seconds. As instruction is presented, guided practice opportunities provide students with answer-specific feedback so that they can learn from their mistakes and confirm their understanding immediately.

Try It

Next, students develop skills and understanding with interactive practice and application. “Try It” gives students the opportunity to practice and apply new skills and concepts. Practice problems help further cement what was covered in “Learn It,” and if students are stuck, they can see a hint before or after they submit answers. The questions are formatted in the same way as presented in “Learn It” so that if a question is answered incorrectly, clarifying information is provided and students know which concepts need extra review and practice.

Review It

As students continue, Tutorials reinforce concepts with high-impact videos based on researched best practices. “Review It” engages students in reviewing material so that they can progress with confidence. The “Review It” videos summarize and reinforce the concepts just learned. Students see the skill come to life with real-world examples, such as using the mathematical formular for slope to find a hiking trail that’s not too flat and not too steep.

Test It

Finally, we assess student knowledge and mastery of concepts through randomized assessment. “Test It” includes a short, scored formative assessment to determine student mastery. If students are successful, they continue to the next lesson. If students are unsuccessful, they have additional attempts to take the assessment and resources to utilize to continue building knowledge prior to retrying the assessment.

Monitoring Progress

As students work through Tutorials, teachers and administrators have access to real-time progress and performance data—reported with quality of work, percent complete, and state standard—at the student, classroom, school, and district level to make informed decisions easily and accurately. Exportable reports allow educators to further analyze and customize data to meet unique needs, whether they are looking at standards mastery or time-on-task. Real-time progress and performance data also shows students where they are in their learning and help determine what they should do next.

Why do Tutorials Work?

Students who receive individualized prerequisite skill remediation applied to on-grade content using Tutorials have shown great success with accelerating learning in middle school and high school. The power of Tutorials lies in the modular approach that can be modified to meet the needs of students to fill learning gaps and provide accessible on-grade instruction. Intentional design ensures that scaffolds and supports enhance learning for all students, especially those in need of extra support. Students will learn how to feel confident in their knowledge, understand how to access additional resources as needed, and demonstrate understanding of the content

To learn more about accelerating learning, read Accelerated Learning: How Teachers Can Ensure That Every Student is on Grade Level This School Year.'s picture
Sian Reilly

Sian joined Edmentum in 2019 and serves as a Senior Marketing Specialist. A former teacher and administrator, Sian believes that individualized education is the key to powerfully transforming students, campuses, and communities. Sian is passionate about connecting educators with information to meet their specific needs in an ever-evolving education environment.