Formative Activities

Formative practice activities appear on the content pages. You can use them to help reinforce learning for a small chunk of text, or you can use them for review or assessment following larger blocks of content.

Smart Author supports two types of formative activities:

Did I Get This?

Learn by Doing

These formative activities allow students to work a problem until they get the correct answer. The activities provide targeted feedback, and they often provide hints, but they do not result in a score in the gradebook.

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

Formative activities also serve an assessment purpose, in that they are used to generate a learning estimate on the learning objectives to which they are linked.

On the course blueprint, 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 has shown that doing practice opportunities results in six times the effect size on learning than does 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 three types of formative activities: Learn By Doing (LBD), Try It Out (TIO), and Did I Get This (DIGT?). Within an activity, the types and number of items are virtually unlimited. Activity types include multiple choice, multiple select, submit and compare, drag and drop, and 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.