Tasks are something that probably every single online course includes in one form or another. However, the variety of different task types can sometimes be overwhelming and lead to a situation where you are stuck with using only one or two kinds of tasks all the time. Sometimes it can feel like you don't really know how different tasks should or could be used.
In this blog post, we will present the different task types that are available on the Vuolearning online learning platform. We will give ideas on how to utilize them in different contexts and hopefully this will help you come up with new ideas for tasks for your online courses.
Using tasks on online courses can have many purposes and objectives. Tasks can be used to...
- make the learners' previous knowledge visible
- test how well the learners have learned a topic
- activate the learner to strengthen the learning process
- ask about the learners' views or thoughts about a certain topic
- guide the learner to do something
- lighten the course content and make it more pleasant.
When designing tasks for a course, you should think about what you want to accomplish with the task and choose the task type accordingly.
As their name states, multiple-choice tasks are tasks with several answer alternatives to choose from. They are often quite straightforward, they can be answered quickly, and they enable an efficient way of measuring the learners' knowledge with a familiar task format. And this familiar format that we have learned to know in schools, quizzes, and many other contexts is in fact more versatile than you would probably think, and it can be used to create creative tasks.
On the Vuolearning platform, the task creator can define the number of all answers, and the number of right answers. They can also choose how many right answers are required for a task to be marked as correct. The task creator can also define the automatic feedback the participant will receive after selecting an answer.
Ideas for multiple-choice tasks:
- Identifying correct answers:
Which of the following items are mandatory to have with you at all times during a shift?
- Yes/no -tasks:
True or false? Sustainability is one of the company's top priorities for this year.
- Finding the right course of action:
Choose the course of action you would take in the situation described below.
- Directing to action:
Mark this task as done when you have sent your tax card to the payroll office.
Open question tasks
Open questions are tasks with no pre-made answer alternatives, where the learner needs to create the answer on their own. In open question tasks, the instructions are particularly important. The instructions will naturally guide the way the learner answers the tasks, but can also affect the motivation to answer. For example, a very broad task may seem challenging to tackle when you can't tell where you should start.
The open questions on the Vuolearning platform support answering with text or with a file. In addition to text files, the answers can also be requested as image or video files. When it comes to the grading of open questions, the trainer has a few different options. The trainer can either choose to review the task themselves or choose to use peer reviews, which means that the participants will review each others' answers. The open questions can also be left ungraded. It is also possible to set the answers visible so that the participants will see all other participants' answers after answering the question.
Ideas for open question tasks:
- Hearing the learners' thoughts:
What do you think is the most important factor of great customer service?
- Understanding cause-and-effect relations:
What are the possible consequences of not obeying the security guidelines?
- Understanding concepts profoundly:
Explain in your own words, what does customer satisfaction mean?
- Call to action:
Please upload a picture of yourself for your employee card.
Numeric question tasks
Numeric tasks are answered with a number. Numeric tasks are suitable for situations where there is a precise, numeric answer to a question that is essential for the participant to know.
When creating a numerical task on the Vuolearning platform, the creator needs to select the right answer, how many points are given, and what kind of feedback the learner will receive. The system will then automatically correct the answers to the tasks accordingly.
Ideas for numeric tasks:
- Understanding processes:
At what temperature are carrot cakes baked?
- Understanding workplace rules and regulations:
How many fire blankets does the kitchen need to have?
- Learning about products:
How many espresso shots are in a cappuccino?
Fill-in tasks are tasks that are replied to with text and that have no pre-made answer options. When compared to open question tasks, the difference is that the task creator must select a correct answer for fill-in tasks. The learners need to type in the right answer in order to get the question right.
When creating a fill-in task, the trainer must choose one or multiple answers that will be accepted as correct. The creator can also define whether the answer needs to be strictly equivalent, meaning that whitespaces and capital letters will affect the assessment of the task. The system will review the task automatically and give points and feedback according to what the task creator has selected.
Ideas for fill-in tasks
- Understanding concepts:
What do you call the object with which you can easily attach fabric pieces to each other?
- Understanding processes:
What is the next step in this process: 1. Drawing patterns on fabric --> 2. Cutting the fabric --> 3. Attaching the fabric pieces to each other --> ?
- Filling in sentences:
When you want to sew in a zigzag pattern, you need to set the ___ on.
In sequencing tasks, the learners need to drag and sequence the given units into a specific order.
When the task is created, the trainer can select the amount and the names of the units, and their right order. Sequencing tasks are automatically corrected on the platform, so the learners will automatically get points and feedback on their answers according to the way the course trainer has defined them.
Ideas for sequencing tasks:
- Understanding a process:
In which order should these tasks be done?
- Prioritizing things:
During your work shift, you end up in a situation where all of the following things happen simultaneously. How would you prioritize them?
- Understanding qualitative factors:
Arrange the following products in a sequence from the smallest to the largest.
What you measure is what you will get
If you wish to measure the learners' competence with tasks, it is advisable to consider what kind of competence you actually want the course to produce. Clarifying the competence objectives will also clarify the course creating process and help make sure that the tasks are in fact testing relevant competence rather than random curiosities.
What you measure is what you will get. If the learners are questioned about the company's founding year or the opening hours of the lunch restaurants, then those are the things they will most likely remember after the course.
The tasks that are used to measure knowledge should be built around the topics that you wish the learner would at least remember after completing the course.
More than often it is more important to understand and internalize broader concepts related to the course topic than memorize minor details. The best possible outcome of tasks on online courses can be that the participants will create a deep, profound understanding of the topic, realize how it is connected to their everyday life, and discover new connections between theory and practice.