The Top eLearning Reinforcement Method: Show Me, Try Me, Test Me

Show Me, Try Me, Test Me is a three-part eLearning strategy used by instructional designers to deliver software simulation training

Each of the three stages aims to reinforce learning objectives and increase knowledge retention by accomplishing the following:

  • Show Me: Introduce and demonstrate the steps needed to complete a task by having learners watch a screen recording.
  • Try Me: Learners actively practice the task themselves and receive hints, tips, and feedback until they complete the task correctly. 
  • Test Me: Ensure learning objectives are solidified by requiring the learner to complete the task successfully without any assistance. 

Learning reinforcement is pivotal to creating a training program that learners retain. Without it, learners could potentially forget 90% of what they’ve learned 7 days after their program ends. 

At Roundtable Learning, we partner with organizations across the globe to develop effective training content built through expert instructional design. Our instructional design team knows what it takes to build a successful learning program that helps employees meet their learning objectives.

One of the top strategies we deploy in our custom-built training programs is learning reinforcement. Today we are going to review one of the ways we reinforce eLearning content, the Show Me, Try Me, Test Me approach.

This article will explain each stage of Show Me, Try Me, Test Me, then provide three major benefits of this approach for your organization’s eLearning program. 


What Is Show Me, Try Me, Test Me eLearning?

Show Me, Try Me, Test Me is a three-part strategy used by instructional designers to deliver software simulation training via eLearning. This approach effectively reinforces learning content by allowing participants to watch and then practice learning objectives, ensuring they’re retaining key information. 

To provide a high-level overview, each stage aims to accomplish the following:

  • Show Me: Introduce and demonstrate
  • Try Me: Practice and receive feedback
  • Test Me: Solidify learning objectives

Organizations use this strategy by recreating a software interface (through screenshots and recordings) then adding elements for the learners to practice typing, clicking, and navigating the software, without needing to work within the actual software. 

Click Here To Try It Out For Yourself With Our eLearning Demo

Show Me, Try Me, Test Me is used to teach a wide variety of tasks. These tasks could include navigating common software applications (Excel, Word, Photoshop, etc.) or updating customer information in the point-of-sale (POS) system.

Let’s break down each of the three stages! 


Show Me — Introduce and Demonstrate

Show Me is the first step of this approach where learners simply watch an action take place on screen. This step is always in video form and shows a screen recording of an action occurring, such as adding an item to a shopping cart or updating a customer’s address in a POS system. 

This first step has the following characteristics:

  • Always in video form
  • Learners aren’t physically doing anything
  • Learners watch an action take place on-screen through a screen recording
  • The video highlights the steps learners need to take to achieve the desired action

Although this step involves passively observing actions taking place, it’s critical because it will outline exactly what steps the learner needs to take to get the desired outcome.

In the demonstration below, the learner watches how to add items to their cart on Amazon.

Read More: The Secret of Successful Learning Objectives and Knowledge Checks 


Try Me — Practice and Feedback

Try Me is the second step of this approach where learners become actively involved in completing the demonstrated action. This step actively engages the learner by requiring them to complete the desired action they previously watched. 

This step has the following characteristics:

  • Learner actively completes the action
  • Typically involves help-text (timed actions, guided actions, hints, feedback, etc.)
  • Learners troubleshoot mistakes before they’re placed in the live situation

Based on the learner’s actions, they’ll be steered in the right direction and supported through on-screen hints, suggestions, arrows, and more. This way, learners can correct their mistakes while working to complete the task. 

In the demonstration below, the learner practices adding an item to their cart.


Test Me — Solidify Learning Objectives

Test Me is the third step of this approach that demonstrates whether or not a learner has gained new knowledge and acquired the information correctly. This step requires the learner to complete the actual task without hints. This stage can also test their understanding through the assessments that can include multiple-choice, true or false, or short answer questions. 

This final step has the following characteristics:

  • Tests the learner
  • Graded or ungraded with no hints
  • If completed incorrectly, learners should repeat previous steps again until mistakes are corrected

This step allows learners to freely practice what they have learned while receiving feedback at the end of their test.

In the demonstration below, the learner is tested on how to add items to their cart. At the end, the learner receives their grade and can review their performance.


Example Of Show Me, Try Me, Test Me

For example, the learning objective could be to update addresses in a customer service system. In order to pass this test phase, learners will have to complete the action of successfully updating an address without any errors.

The Show Me step will have a screen recording of someone correctly updating a customer address. This recording will show step by step how to navigate the customer service system and input the information.

The Try Me step will show learners how to navigate the customer service system by following prompts and arrows showing them where to click. The learner will also be able to type in example customer information with prompts showing the correct formatting.

The Test Me step will allow learners to go through the entire process of updating a customer address with no hints or prompts. When the learner does something incorrectly, they will be allowed to finish the test and then shown their mistakes at the end.

If the learner hasn’t grasped the steps needed to update the address, they have the option of repeating the whole process again until they get the steps right. 


3 Key Benefits Of Show Me, Try Me, Test Me eLearning

Now that you know what this process entails, let’s dive into the 3 benefits that come with its use. 

  1. Show Try TestPinpoints where learners are struggling and offers improvements — This approach to software simulation training accurately pinpoints where learners need further guidance. Organizations can view exactly where concepts and steps need to be more clearly explained, which makes the training more effective
  2. Supplies measurable evidence of skills transfer — Out of all the three stages, Test Me is the only one that can be graded. Through assessments, quizzes, knowledge checks, and more, organizations can measure whether or not skills are being transferred to learners. 
  3. Provides a real-life example without having to use the actual software — This approach doesn’t require the actual use of the software or system itself. For example, a simulation of an Excel sheet uses a pre-recorded screen recording that learners can observe and practice within without needing the Excel software. 


Get Ready To Show, Try, And Test Your Learners!

This article has covered all there is to know about the Show Me, Try Me, Test Me approach to software simulation training. We hope you feel more confident moving forward with your eLearning program and see all the benefits this model brings to increasing knowledge retention and engaging learners. 

Schedule a meeting with our team of experts to learn more and start designing your own custom training program today! 

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