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DNAct: Guided Practice Software to Teach DNA Replication

Click here to try using DNAct for yourself. If you just want to evaluate it without learning the content, view the cheat sheet.


DNAct (pronounced DN-act) is immersive, guided practice, educational software that allows students to learn about the process of DNA replication by doing it – they are free to explore a “virtual cell” containing the required components (enzymes, nucleotides etc) and are guided to assemble them in the correct way .This “guided practice” approach maintains a high degree of interaction to engage the learner in the activity and encourage them to explore the scenario for the information they need.


Each of the components drifting in solution can be touched to provide information on their function, and can be drageed onto the DNA strand to apply their function to the strand. DNA replication is a sequential process, in which actions take place in a certain order. Learners can try to use any component at any time, but if it is not appropriate, it will just drift back into solution. If it is a correct action, they are rewarded with an animation of the action, followed by some reinforcing information which ensures they understand the implications of the action they just took.

If the user is unsure how to proceed, they can push the large Hint button in the bottom-left corner. This will tell them what needs to be done, but not how to do it. This important distinction encourages the learner to explore the scenario and discover the information for themselves. For example, in stage one, the hint mentions that in order for DNA replication to proceed, the DNA strand must be unwound, and if the learner looks at Helicase, they will see that it unwinds DNA. The learner can then make that connection themselves, which we beleive is far more valuable that simply being told the information and having to memorise it.


DNAct offers all of the features common to the GamED series of 2D educational software. This includes the ability to:

  • Present educational material in an interactive, explorative, guided practice style.
  • Deliver material via the internet, on CDROM, or even as an extra stream of media in X-Stream presentations.
  • Ability to record every learner action to a database, which can be analysed to show the progress, ability and weaknesses of the user, or class as a whole.

Background and Research

DNAct is the product of the original GamED pilot study, which was designed to trial and refine the techniques that can now be applied to any topic. Both qualitative and quantitative evaluation was conducted with high school students to assess clarity, user acceptance and educational effectiveness. This revealed that the application elicited considerable enthusiasm and substantial educational benefit.

Use the DNAct Demo

Click here to try using DNAct for yourself. If you just want to evaluate it without learning the content, view the cheat sheet.


MindSpace Solutions is self-funding development of more of these learning modules, but we are also able to develop custom modeules specifically to client’s specifications. Please Contact Us if you are interested in:

  • Using our existing learning modules in their current form.
  • Developing new learning modules based on the concepts and codebase of GamED.


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