Do activities

While Absorb activities provide information, Do activities transform that information into knowledge and skills. In Do activities, learners discover, parse, decode, analyze, verify, combine, organize, discuss, debate, evaluate, condense, refine, elaborate, and, most importantly, apply knowledge. Here are some examples of do activities:

Drill and practice

Drill-and-practice activities build on a simple testing cycle. The system presents a problem, which the learner tries to solve. The system provides feedback on the learner’s solution before posing another problem. Then the cycle repeats. About the examples The Practice recognizing nautical flags activity teaches learners to recognize nautical flags. This part of the exercise … Continue reading Drill and practice

Hands-on activity

Hands-on activities give learners real work to perform. In a hands-on activity, the learner completes a task outside the lesson, such as performing a calculation with an on-screen calculator, designing something on paper, or operating a piece of machinery. The hands-on activity guides learners through the real-life task, provides feedback on their success, and may … Continue reading Hands-on activity

Guided analysis

Guided analysis activities step learners through the process of analyzing a complex situations. They answer one of the most important questions ever asked: “So what?” Analyze soil texture lets forestry professionals practice classifying soil textures based on the proportions of sand, loam, and silt in the soil.   Evaluating complex data is …. well, complex. One way of … Continue reading Guided analysis

Virtual laboratories

A virtual laboratory provides an on-screen simulator or calculator that learners can use to test ideas and observe results. About the examples Here in the Heat flow laboratory, mechanical designers conduct experiments to learn how heat flow depends on factors such as temperature, area, thickness, and thermal conductivity. This HTML laboratory teaches HTML. Learners can … Continue reading Virtual laboratories

Case study

Schools have used case studies since—well, since there were schools. Case studies provide relevant, meaningful experiences in which learners can discover and abstract useful concepts and principles. Case studies can be the basis for a reading activity, if we just wanted learners to absorb information from the study. However, case studies make fine discovery activities … Continue reading Case study


Dig-and-decide activities let learners proceed toward a goal by making decisions that help or hinder their progress. These activities resemble the early computer adventure games in which the player sets out on a quest and must pick up objects and choose paths carefully. Such activities are often called social-interaction simulators when they are used to … Continue reading Dig-and-decide

Team-task activity

Team-task activities are good to teach teamwork—or any skill that is practiced by a group rather than just an individual. Such teamwork activities require learners to work as a coordinated team to solve a single, complex problem. Team members communicate using online meetings and discussion forums in order to complete their assigned tasks. About this … Continue reading Team-task activity

Role-playing activity

Children learn much adult behavior by playing at being an adult. Likewise, adults can learn much by playing the role of someone else. In a role-playing scenario, the instructor states a goal and assigns learners roles in achieving that goal. Learners research their roles. They then collaborate via online meetings and discussion forums to play … Continue reading Role-playing activity

(Excerpted from E-learning by Design.)

E-learning design specialists