Bridge (en)ArchivedApprenNet - Instructors Getting StartedStep II: Creating your first Exercise in ApprenNet

Step II: Creating your first Exercise in ApprenNet

Before creating a new Exercise, it's very helpful to take a step back and plan your training or teaching objectives. To help you do this, we've created a checklist. After walking through the checklist, the remainder of this article will discuss the nuts and bolts of creating your first ApprenNet Exercise.

Step 1: Identify

What skill do you want your Learners to become really good at?

  • Insert skill here: __________________________

Step 2: Deconstruct

What are the sub-skills that make up the overall skill you identified above? For example, if you want your Learners to become great at basketball, you’ll need to break down the different skills necessary to master basketball. Such sub-skills may include dribbling, free throw shooting, boxing out, and so on.

  • List sub-skills here: ________________________

Step 3: Research

Pick one sub-skill listed above. What do your Learners need to know in order to hone and develop that sub-skill? Sticking with the basketball analogy, let’s pick the sub-skill free throw shooting. To successfully shoot a free throw, your Learners need to: 1) square their body to the basket; 2) keep their eyes on the front rim at all times; 3) and follow through.

  • List components of one sub-skill here: ________________________

What Expert (either yourself or someone else) can demonstrate the sub-skill’s key components?

  • Indicate the Expert's name here: ____________________________

The answers to the questions above will provide you everything you need to create your first ApprenNet exercise!  

All ApprenNet Exercises follow this formula:

  • Challenge: Learners watch a video prompt that you produced and then upload a video response to that prompt. In other words, learners practice or role play their skills.
  • Peer Review: Learners critique each other’s video Submissions. Here, Learners point out each other’s strengths and weaknesses and help each other adapt their skills.
  • Expert Response: Learners identify their strengths and weaknesses by comparing their Submission to an Expert’s response.

Recap: Learners receive individual and group feedback and can review each other's Submissions.

Create new exercise page

There are five sections you must configure to create your first ApprenNet Exercise. The sections include: Set Up, Challenge, Peer Review, Expert Response, and Recap. The following outlines each section:  

Step 1: Set Up

  • Name of your Exercise. Tip: It's helpful if you align the name of your Exercise with the sub-skill you want your Learners to practice. This helps Learners focus and it helps you easily organize Exercises.  
  • Assign the Exercise to a specific Group. All ApprenNet Exercises must be assigned to a Group. A Learner joins a specific Group (e.g. New Employee On-boarding or Psychology 101). Groups help you organize a cohort of Learners and assign all required Exercises to specific groups of Learners. Tip: Name the Group so your Learners can easily identify your training or class (e.g. Nursing 101 or Sales Team 15)

*As you set up each section, select the green Save & Continue button to save your work.

Step 2: Challenge Stage

  • Learning Theory: The more opportunities you give your Learners to practice their skills, the closer they will come to mastering those skills (Rodgers, 2002). It's difficult to provide frequent opportunities for Learners to practice their skills live. The Challenge stage of an ApprenNet Exercise provide you an excellent substitute for live role plays.
  • Challenge Video. You can either directly record a Challenge video from your, desktop app, web-browser or upload a pre-recorded video file. We accept these video files: .m4v, .mov, .mp4, .mjpeg, .mpg, and .webm.
  • Instructions. Include any written instructions here. You can also link to outside resources such as PDF articles or websites using the link icon above the instruction box.
  • Dates. Include a start and end date for the Challenge stage. ApprenNet sends Learners automatic emails alerting them to when a stage opens and 24 hours before it closes assuming the Learner did not yet completed the learning stage. Visit this Knowledge Base article for more details on email notifications. Setting dates is necessary to trigger these types of email notifications.
  • File Upload. Some Instructors want Learners to submit a word document, PPT, image, or PDF along with their video response. Select yes in the last section of the Challenge set up if you want Learners to submit a document with their video. Please note that if you select this Learners must submit both a video and document to proceed to the next learning stage.

Step 3: Peer Review

  • Learning Theory: Increased social capital (i.e. the ability for Learners to engage with each other about their craft) and critiquing the skill practice of others correlates to increased skill acquisition (Pianta 2011, Leana 2011). Providing an opportunity for your Learners to critique each other and discuss their craft will lead to faster skill mastery.
  • Peer or outside Reviewers. Most Instructors want Learners to review each other. If you would prefer that only outside Instructors or Experts review Submissions, then select Reviewers Only where it asks "Who will give feedback?". Selecting this option means the Learners will not participate in the Peer Review process.
  • Instructions. Include any written instructions here. You can also link to outside resources such as PDF articles or websites using the link icon above the instruction box. Many Instructors include instructions that guide Learners to leave feedback that is both constructive and collegial. Direct instructions like these have resulted in more thoughtful peer feedback.
  • Choose a Review Format. You can choose one of three Peer Review configurations. The first generates a rubric review. The second generates pair voting. And the third generates a simple list. The following shows what each review will look like to your Learners and outlines how your can configure each review option.


This is what a rubric review will look like to your Learners. Learners are shown one video Submission at a time and complete a rubric after watching the video. They can also leave timestamped feedback.

View Rubric

You configure rubric review here. You can include as many questions as you would like with as many answer options as you would like. We recommend including one to three questions with no more than five answer choices for each question. A limited number of question and options helps you focus the Exercise on a discrete sub-skill, helps Learners provide each other with more specific, actionable feedback, and provides a Learners with more seamless user experience.

Configure rubric

Pair Voting

This is what pair voting will look like to your Learners. Learners are shown two Submissions. When they select play for one the Submissions, guiding questions appear on the other video to help them evaluate the Submission. After watching both Submissions, the Learner can leave timestamped feedback and then they choose which of the two Submissions provided a better response to the Challenge prompt.  

Pair voting page

You can configure pair voting here. If you would like to include guiding questions, do so by adding them as bulleted points in the instruction box. While you can include as many questions as you would like, we suggest no more than three to help you focus Learners on the discrete skills you want them to practice.

Configure pair voting


This is what the list review will look like to your Learners. Learners see a list of all Submissions to your Exercise indicated by the Submitter's name. When a Learner selects a name, he or she will see the Submission and can leave written timestamped feedback.

You can configure the list review view by simply clicking the list icon. Generally Instructors like to use this option for their first Exercise. The purpose of this first Exercise is twofold: 1) Learners introduce themselves to each other; and 2) Learners familiarize themselves with ApprenNet in a low-stakes Exercise. If you decide to do this, many Instructors include their own introduction video in the Expert Response stage.

  • Setting the Number of Peer Reviews. If you opt to configure your Exercise with a rubric review or with pair voting, you must also program how many Submissions you want each Learner to review before they unlock the Expert Response stage. You can see where to set numbers in the image below.

Customizing the Written Feedback Prompt. Under all Submissions is an option for Learners to provide written timestamped feedback. You can customize the prompt for this feedback section. We recommend asking Learners to identify at least one strength and one weakness. A good prompt may read: "Identify one strength and one area where the Learner can improve." This type of prompt encourages your Learners to provide each other with praise as well as specific and actionable feedback. It simultaneously strengthens your community of Learners as they begin to see each other as people that will help them develop and hone their skills.

  • Dates/Times. Include a start and end date and time for the Peer Review stage. As noted above, ApprenNet sends Learners automatic emails alerting Learners when a stage opens and 24 hours before it closes assuming the Learner has not yet completed the stage. Visit this Knowledge Base article for more details on email notifications. Setting dates is necessary to trigger these types of email notifications.

Step 4: Expert Response

  • Learning Theory: Learners hone and develop skills by observing best practices and identifying their strengths in weaknesses in comparison to a best practice (Bandura, 1977). An excellent Expert Response does not only include a demonstration, but also a detailed explanation of why the Expert did certain things in the demonstration. To learn more on how to create an excellent Expert Response, read this blog post. ApprenNet's pedagogical designs includes the Expert Response after the Challenge stage and the Peer Review stage by design. If Learners practice a skill on their own and critique others before seeing an Expert's response, then they are primed to fully engage with the expert content. Learners interest and ability to absorb the Expert's demonstration is heightened by stage one and two of an ApprenNet exercise.
  • To include or not to include an Expert Response: If you decide to include an Expert Response, then select Yes at this stage. After you create your, Exercise, you can configure the Expert Response yourself or outsource it by selecting the Admin dropdown and selecting Manage Expert Response. You can learn more about that process here.

Step 5: Recap

  • Learning Theory: Learners adapt and improve their skill practice based on timely, specific feedback (Ericsson, 1993).The Recap is a place for you to provide Learners with Expert feedback. We like to think of the Recap as a virtual bulletin board where you can provide feedback in three places: the Notes, the Top Reviewed list, and the Featured list.
  • Notes: After your Learners have submitted their practice videos, you can leave notes for your entire Group of Learners under this section. Oftentimes Instructors provide big takeaways such as the Group's overall strengths and weaknesses.
View Recap Notes
  • Top Reviewed: If you want, you can highlight the Submissions that bubbled to the top based on peer review critiques. We built the Top Reviewed list to give you an easy, no hassle means to pair a large group of Learners into a smaller sub-set so you can give a few Learners feedback for all to learn from. This pairing functionality has the secondary benefit of providing motivation for Learners to put more effort into their initial skill practice during the Challenge stage. The reward of making it to the top of the list is a great motivator. Oftentimes Instructors in the corporate space ask their CEO or VPs to provide these Learners Expert feedback. Below see an image of the Top Reviewed list from a Learners point of view.
View Top Reviewed submissions
  • Top Reviewed: To turn on the Top Reviewed list, simply select Yes and note how many Submissions you want to appear on your list.
Activate top reviewed submission visibility
  • Featured: If there are Submissions that you want to highlight for teachable moments, you can do so on the Recap page. You can't toggle this section as you are creating your Exercise, but rather after your Learners submitted videos, you can review them and if you want to share with the Group, you can simply select Mark as Featured above the relevant videos and the Submissions will appear on the Recap under Featured.
View featured submissions
  • Dates/Times: As with the other stages, setting a start date and time for the Recap triggers an email alerting your Learners that they can now visit the Recap. If you need time to review Submissions before providing feedback to your Learners, set the Recap to open at a date and time after your other stages close.
Select Recap date and time

Step 6: Create your Exercise

  • Date/Time: Choose an end date and time for your Exercise. This date and time will trigger a final email to be sent to your Learners. When the date and time arrives, your Learners will receive an Exercise Completion Report noting the stages they completed and which Learners made it on the Top Reviewed list assuming you turn the Top Reviewed functionality on.
Select Exercise end date and time
  • Publish: Select the green Create Exercise button to publish your Exericse. This action means that your Learners will now see your Exercise on their Group page. To participate in the Exercise, Learners can click on the title of the Exercise. If you prefer to share your Exercise with Learners at a later date, you can save your Exercise in Draft mode.
Click Create Exercise button
  • Draft: To save your Exercise as a Draft, simply select the Draft option in the navigational sidebar. You can remove the Draft mode any time and make your Exercise accessible to your Learners.

Congratulations! You've successfully created your first ApprenNet Exercise!