Skip to content

Task-based learning

  • by

Task-based learning is an approach to language teaching that focuses on performing tasks or projects to develop language competence. Instead of focusing purely on teaching grammar and vocabulary, this form of learning offers learners the opportunity to use language in authentic situations by performing concrete tasks. In communicatively oriented foreign language teaching, the language should be acquired through situations that are as authentic and everyday as possible, i.e. learners should learn and try out the language by means of situations in class that are as close to reality as possible. Such communicative situations do not arise, however, when only the textbook is worked through; rather, tasks and subject areas must be prepared and transformed into tasks that move the learners to act in and with the foreign language. In such lessons, teachers choose topics and tasks that correspond to the interests and needs of the learners and challenge them. The learners work in groups and have to cooperate in order to complete the set task. During the process, they can use and improve their language skills. The learning tasks allow learners to take an individual approach through their open-ended nature, and these tasks are product- and outcome-oriented, as learning is active and action-oriented, preferably in partner or group work.

Task-based learning is based on the assumption that languages are best learned by using them in authentic situations. The approach promotes the development of communicative competences and intercultural competence and boosts learners’ self-confidence by encouraging them to actively participate in their own learning process.

The tasks are designed to provide incentives to use the language productively, thus differing from exercises that focus on producing and repeating a linguistically correct form. Tasked-based learning is therefore not about right or wrong; rather, learners should arrive at a result that is meaningful in terms of content and that can be evaluated. On the way to the result, there should be sufficient motivation to use the foreign language, for which the learners naturally need a vocabulary, appropriate idioms and structures to fall back on.

Tasked-based learning always takes place in three phases. In the first phase, the task is introduced and the learners are prepared for the task. This can also be the initial provision of appropriate vocabulary or idioms. In addition, the learning task and the sequence of the work phase are discussed (amount of time, which result, social form, etc.). Then follows the execution phase, in which the learners deal with the task, create a result (oral or written) (poster/role play) and present it to the other learners. The final phase is extremely important. This is the follow-up phase, where the content and results are reflected upon. Especially language problems, anomalies or questions that have arisen are now discussed and summarised. Without this follow-up, Tasked Based Learning cannot be successful.