10 design elements are suggested for the design of authentic tasks in web-based learning environments:
- Authentic tasks have real-world relevance
Activities match as nearly as possible the real-world tasks of professionals in practice rather than decontextualised or classroom-based tasks.
- Authentic tasks are ill-defined, requiring students to define the tasks and sub-tasks
needed to complete the activity
Problems inherent in the tasks are ill-defined and open to multiple interpretations rather than easily solved by the application of existing algorithms. Learners must identify their own unique tasks and sub-tasks in order to complete the major task.
- Authentic tasks comprise complex tasks to be investigated by students over a sustained
period of time
Tasks are completed in days, weeks and months rather than minutes or hours, requiring significant investment of time and intellectual resources.
- Authentic tasks provide the opportunity for students to examine the task from different
perspectives, using a variety of resources
The task affords learners the opportunity to examine the problem from a variety of theoretical and practical perspectives, rather than a single perspective that learners must imitate to be successful. The use of a variety of resources rather than a limited number of preselected references requires students to detect relevant from irrelevant information.
- Authentic tasks provide the opportunity to collaborate
Collaboration is integral to the task, both within the course and the real world, rather than achievable by an individual learner.
- Authentic tasks provide the opportunity to reflect
Tasks need to enable learners to make choices and reflect on their learning both individually and socially.
- Authentic tasks can be integrated and applied across different subject areas and lead
beyond domain-specific outcomes
Tasks encourage interdisciplinary perspectives and enable diverse roles and expertise rather than a single well-defined field or domain.
- Authentic tasks are seamlessly integrated with assessment
Assessment of tasks is seamlessly integrated with the major task in a manner that reflects real world assessment, rather than separate artificial assessment removed from the nature of the task.
- Authentic tasks create polished products valuable in their own right rather than as preparation
for something else
Tasks culminate in the creation of a whole product rather than an exercise or sub-step in preparation for something else.
- Authentic tasks allow competing solutions and diversity of outcome
Tasks allow a range and diversity of outcomes open to multiple solutions of an original nature, rather than a single correct response obtained by the application of rules and procedures.
© 2005 Faculty of Education, University of Wollongong.