Demonstration-based training: A review of instructional features

Michael A. Rosen, Eduardo Salas, Davin Pavlas, Randy Jensen, Dan Fu, Donald Lampton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: This article reviews instructional features used in demonstration-based training (DBT). Background: The need for fast and effective training and performance support that can be accessed from anywhere is a growing need for organizations. DBT programs are one method to address these needs, but a better understanding of how to maximize the effectiveness of DBT activities is needed. Specifically, beyond the content of the demonstration (i.e., the dynamic example of task performance), what instructional features (i.e., information and activities in addition to the demonstration) can be used to improve the effectiveness of DBT interventions? Method:The authors conducted a systematic review of the applied and basic science literatures relevant to DBT. Results: Instructional features in DBT can be categorized according to the degree to which they encourage active learner involvement (i.e., active vs. passive), when they occur relative to viewing the demonstration (i.e., pre-, during-, and postdemonstration conditions), and the observational learning process they are intended to augment. Five categories of instructional features are described: passive guidance or support, preparatory activities, concurrent activities, retrospective activities, and prospective activities. Conclusion: There is a wide variety of instructional features used in DBT, but more systematic research is needed to understand the conditions under which each is most effective as well as to outline a method for sequencing of demonstration with other delivery methods, such as practice opportunities. Application: The framework presented in this article can help guide the systematic development of training systems incorporating DBT as well as provide a direction for future research.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)596-609
Number of pages14
JournalHuman Factors
Issue number5
StatePublished - Oct 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • demonstration
  • demonstration-based training
  • instructional design
  • instructional systems
  • observational learning
  • training

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Applied Psychology
  • Behavioral Neuroscience


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