What is Task-based learning?


Task-based learning (TBL) is a method of language teaching which aims to increase the ability of the learner to communicate (more effectively and accurately) in the target language.
The TBL approach places a lot of emphasis on a natural context for language use. For many Young Learners playing computer games is a natural everyday activity, a fact that we as language developers should take greater advantage of. As learners play a game and seek to complete a task, there is and can be a great opportunity to interact through the use of language. Such interaction, it could be argued, helps facilitate language acquisition if learners have to work in order to understand each other.
In order to be able to fully comprehend task-based learning in the context of gaming, it is better to clarify what is meant by “TBL” in advance.
In Task Based Learning, tasks are always activities where the target language is used by the learner for a communicative purpose (or goal). The emphasis is on exchanging and communicating meanings rather than producing specific language forms. In gaming these examples may include compiling a list of objectives, features, or things that need doing under particular circumstances; identifying game rules, solving a problem or puzzle, instruction giving, etc. “One job of the course designer and the teacher is to select topics and tasks that will motivate learners, engage their attention, present a suitable degree of intellectual and linguistic challenge and promote their language development as efficiently as possible.” (Willis 1996). In my experience my learners find computer games very motivating, engaging and challenging a number of levels.