In order to improve the teaching and learning situation in the course Electromagnetism for first‐year students at the Twente University of Technology, this course has been reconstructed. The main activity in the reconstruction has been directed towards developing means and instructional procedures helpful to the students in learning how to tackle problems in electromagnetism. Therefore a model of the process of solving such problems has been developed and a system of actions and methods appropriate to this problem solving has been derived from the model. On the basis of the learning and instruction theory of Gal’perin this system has been incorporated in the instructional procedures of the course. The results of the reconstructed course as shown in the examination scores have improved compared to previous courses.