Formative Activities

Formative practice activities appear on the content pages. Smart Author supports two types of formative activities:

Did I Get This?

Learn by Doing

These formative activities allow students to work on a problem until they get the correct answer. The activities provide targeted feedback, and they often provide hints.

You can use formative activities to:

  • Provide a brief pause in body content to ask a question
  • Ask a series of questions that build on one another
  • Give students a chance to practice a new type of problem

On the course blueprint, edit or add a new page and click + Add Section, select Formative Activity, and then click Add to Page.

Note: The Doer Effect

One of the most important learning science principles identified at the Open Learning Initiative is the Doer Effect. Research proved that doing practice opportunities has six times the effect size on learning than just reading alone. As students work through course material, they will learn more and faster if they practice what they are learning as they learn it. Thus Acrobatiq Course Library courses provide students with frequent opportunities to practice while they learn.


Formative Activities Overview



Learn by Doing 

Used when presenting a concept so that students can practice the concept as they learn.

  • Gives students an opportunity to practice the material immediately.
  • Scaffolded to give support on an “as-needed” basis by providing tailored hints and feedback. 
  • Allows students to practice specific tasks and skills in a non-threatening environment.
  • Can include new information and/or expand on concepts just introduced in the expository text.
  • The Learning Dashboard reports student activity in an aggregate format.

Did I Get This? 

Typically used at the end of a chunk of content; provides students with a check on how they are performing. 


Learning Activity Terminology

A number of terms used in Acrobatiq have specific meanings, as follows:



Formative Activity

Activities provide practice in the associated concepts, preferably at the right cognitive level. They offer unique, targeted feedback that corrects errors and misconceptions.

There are two overall activity types: Learn By Doing (LBD) and Did I Get This (DIGT?). Within an activity, the type and number of items is virtually unlimited. Activity types include multiple choice, multiple select, submit and compare, drag and drop, text, or numeric entry.

Question or Item

Questions or items are composed of a set of instructions and one or more answer choices, depending on the item type. The terms question and items are sometimes used interchangeably with the term activity.

Question Part

Some question/item types can have multiple parts that students need to answer. These question types are: 

  • Pull-down
  • Drag and drop (all types)
  • Numeric input
  • Text input

Example: A question with three fill-in-the-blanks is assessing students three times. 

Data Point

Each question part equals one question data point that is reported to the analytics engine. Questions with multiple parts have multiple data points. The student's learning estimate is determined by collecting and analyzing all of the data points created by the learner as he or she answers formative questions.


Components of Formative Activities

Targeted feedback: Most questions have targeted feedback for correct and incorrect answer options. The feedback provides additional learning opportunities and guides students as they continue to work on the problem.

Hints: These formative activities have hints that students can click on to get additional guidance. Hints support students learning new or difficult concepts and can help prevent frustration.


Capabilities of Formative Activities

Formative activities:

  • Can include any kind of content available on the Section Type Selector (body content, video, dynamic slideshow, LTI tool, and so forth).
  • Can deliver all questions in one list, one question at a time (useful in cases where the feedback from one question would give away the answer to a subsequent question), or in combinations of multi-question panels through which the student progresses.
  • Do not report to the gradebook.
  • Do factor into a student's learning estimate on the associated learning objective(s).
  • Permit the transfer of questions OUT to other exercises.
  • Can be cut-and-pasted.


Authoring Requirements

Formative activities require a minimum of 10 questions/data points per learning objective.