Instructional Activities Overview and Samples

According to William Horton (2012), there are three types of activities used to support and accomplish learning objectives: Absorb, Do and Connect. Each instructional activity helps guide the learner in the learning process.

  • Absorb Activities: These activities help the learner absorb the content. As Horton states: “Learners are physically passive, but mentally active.” (Horton). Absorb activities may include: watching a presentation, listening to a lecture, or reading.
  • Do Activities: These activities allow the learner to practice using what they just learned. Do activities may include working through hands-on activities, software simulations, playing a game, or answering test questions.
  • Connect Activities: These activities help the learner to connect what they have just learned with their daily job and/or in other aspects of their life. Connect activities may include small group discussions with instructors and peers, job aids for reference on the job, or reflection assignments and discussion boards.

It is also important to apply the principles of Universal Design for Learning (UDL) into instructional activities by offering multiple formats for learning (absorbing), practicing (doing), and applying (connecting) knowledge. This is accomplished by providing multiple means of representation, engagement, and actions and expressions to help diverse learners accomplish the objectives of the instructions. With the use of various types of technology, software and multimedia available to instructional designers today, it is essential that they try to design with different types of learners in mind (i.e. deaf or hard-of-hearing, poor eyesight, or learners that are temporarily impaired in some other way).

Horton, W. K. (2012). E-learning by design. San Francisco, CA: Pfeiffer.

Click here to view samples of Absorb, Do and Connect activities I created for this project.