Research Put Into Practice: Activities and Feedback

Research Put into Practice: Apex Learning Curriculum and Pedagogy examines what it means for a student to learn and presents research pointing to the elements of curriculum design that are necessary for supporting learning in middle and high schools.

The research in this white paper is divided into four sections and each section is followed by a discussion of how the research is applied within the Apex Learning digital curriculum.

Section II: Activities and Feedback focuses on characteristics of learners and what they need to stay engaged and motivated. For instance, learners come to school with preconceived understandings (and misunderstandings) and interests that affect their motivation. They also come to school with varying levels of competence.


Key Topics Covered

Supporting Student Practice

Findings from research synthesized by Marzano et al. (2001) indicate that student learning improves with the use of certain types of instructional strategies and supports. Use of predictions, advance organizers, and questions elicit students’ prior knowledge, which is necessary for building new understanding.


Scaffolding is assistance provided before or during student actions. An example of scaffolding is a chart that shows the elements of a five-paragraph essay and provides space for students to write their thesis sentences and paragraph topic sentences. Scaffolding comes in many forms depending on the subject matter, the learners, and the learning outcomes desired.

When immediate feedback is given for a small step while practicing a procedure or skill, it can also be considered to be scaffolding. Each piece of feedback is based on an assessment of what a student has done, and this type of assessment is called formative assessment. Feedback is a crucial and a complex part of supporting student learning that has been widely studied.

Apex Learning embeds scaffolding in the structure of its digital curriculum to serve as a bridge that builds upon what students already know to help them arrive at something they do not know (new learning).

Strategic and Adaptive Scaffolds

Read the white paper to learn more about how Apex Learning puts research into practice in its digital curriculum.