ELTABB Journal Volume 1 - Page 11

How To Develop A Task-Based Course – The Toolkit! For those interested in designing a task-based course, I would suggest the following procedure: Determine ‘learning objectives’ Using a combination of diagnostic tools such as tests, questionnaires, and planning frameworks (e.g. SWOT analyses), coupled with previous experience, determine what the needs of course participants are, in the form of ‘learning objectives’. These can, for example, be written as ‘can do statements’ e.g. “The learner can provide good support for their arguments”. These are helpful for keeping the course on track, making participants more aware of their learning, and for assessment purposes. Define assessment criteria Once the participants’ needs have been determined, the learning objectives can be incorporated into a CEFR-style assessment grid (see Council of Europe, 2008), containing appropriate criteria at the required level. Develop each ‘task cycle’ Next, the nature of any tasks needs determining. According to Ellis (2009), a ‘task’ is: an activity with a clearly-defined outcome other than the use of language, where ... learners have to rely largely on their own resources, and ... the primary focus is on meaning. missing prepositions. It also differentiates between the discussion ‘tasks’ I have used and ‘exercises’ where learners are given a list of useful phrases at the beginning and told to use them in a discussion. Thus, course developers need to ensure that their tasks meet the above criteria. It is also necessary for course designers to adhere to the theoretical principles supporting TBLT. In other words, the task itself and any input should be at a level just above the learners’ own, and learners need to be given opportunities to identify the language they need themselves and then to use it. There are also several common (though nonessential) features of tasks which course developers may wish to consider, namely whether the tasks are to be authentic (as far as this is possible!), collaborative (e.g. groupwork) and/or contain an information gap. Once the tas