A tutorial in education is a method of transferring knowledge and may be used as a part of a learning process. More interactive and specific than a book or a lecture, a tutorial seeks to teach by example and supply the information to complete a particular task.
A tutorial can be taken in many forms, ranging from instructions to complete a task to an interactive problem-solving session (usually in academia).
In computer-based education, a tutorial is a computer program whose purpose is to assist users in learning how to use parts of a software product such as an office suite or any other application, operating system interface, programming tool, or video game. There are three kinds of software tutorials:
- Video tutorials that the user views.
- Interactive tutorials where the user follows on-screen instructions (and—in some cases—watches short instruction movies), at which point they do the tutorial exercises and receives feedback depending on their actions.
- Webinars where users participate in real-time lectures, online tutoring, or workshops remotely using web conferencing software.
Tutorials usually have the following characteristics:
- A presentation of the view usually explaining and showing the user interface.
- Using examples to show how a workflow or process is completed, a demonstration of a function is often broken up into discrete modules or sections.
- Some method of review reinforces or tests understanding of the content in the related module or section.
- A transition to additional modules or sections that builds on the instructions already provided. Tutorials can be linear or branching.
While many writers refer to a mere list of instructions or tips as a tutorial, this usage can be misleading.