Students need to make artifacts, like programs, databases, and lab reports. Authors can have students make artifacts from scratch, or from partially complete artifacts. Consider the fading worked examples strategy. Authors give students a complete worked example. Then they give students another one, with the last step missing. The students' task is to finish the artifact. Then they have another exercise, with the last two steps missing. And so on.
When we're talking about exercises, we're talking about tasks, like making artifacts. We're not talking about multiple-choice questions (MCQs). There's nothing wrong with MCQs. They're useful for activating prior knowledge, diagnosing misconceptions, testing fact recall, and other things. There is an
learning object type in Skilling, and you should use it.
However, MCQs are not enough by themselves. To learn skills, students have to make things, turn them in, and get good feedback.
Is rote learning useful for learning skills?
Good question. It's a common misconception that rote learning has no place in skill courses, but that isn't so. Rote learning can automate (in a psychological sense) partial tasks. A classic example of automation is the times table. Memorizing it reduces cognitive load when doing arithmetic in problem solving.
Of course, rote learning just by itself won't help students learn skills. However, that doesn't mean that rote learning has no value. It's a matter of balance.