Understanding and using task analysis

How to decode and get the most out of the rich information you can get from the task analysis option as a facilitator.

Caitlin Foran avatar
Written by Caitlin Foran
Updated over a week ago

The Analysis option lives within our Class console. You'll see it beside certain tasks when you're looking at the marking tab.

The purpose of the analysis tool is to show you which were the most common responses that learners gave. This can be really useful to reveal misconceptions for you to revisit with the class. Or the task analysis might highlight where you might need to tweak the task design.

If your Analysis button is greyed out and you're wondering why, jump to our explanation on why that might be.

To make sense of the data, let's take a look at a few examples. The most straightforward example is a multiple choice question, so we'll start there.

The initial analysis screen (multiple choice)

When you first open up analysis, you'll see something like this:

Here we can see the main parts of the initial analysis screen.

  • First column: Your list of learners.

  • Second column: Whether they got the task right (1) or wrong (0).

  • Third column: A small chart of the frequency of responses (in the first cell) and for each learner, the type of response the gave/chose e.g. A, B, C, D.

Let's take a look at what we can figure out just from the initial analysis screen.

From this screen we can tell:

  • Learners Flloyd and Hannah got the task correct and chose C (the third option presented in a multiple choice question).

  • Callum and Gabby got the task incorrect. Callum chose B (the second option) and Gabby chose A (the first option).

  • It's small (don't worry we get an enlarged version on the next screen), but a quick glance at the graph tells us that C was the most common response.

The responses screen (multiple choice)

Selecting the graph in the initial screen will take you to the detail of the responses.

Here you'll get to see a deeper dive into the responses. This screen allows us to see exactly what each response was and we also get to see an enlarged bar chart of the responses.

You can select different bars on the graph to see different responses.

Once you've taken a look through the data and responses, you can use All to get back to the initial screen. Or you can choose Exit fullscreen to get back to the task list in Marking.

Now that you've seen the two screens for a basic task, let's take a look at what you might see for other task types.

What you might see for other task types

For other task types instead of A, B, C, D, you're likely to see R1, R2, R3 etc. The R stands for "response".

Again, an example is useful. Let's say we have a task like this:

In this task, one option for a response would be selecting the top three options (R1). Another option for a response would be selecting the first, second and fourth options (R2). Yet another combination would be selecting the first, second and fifth options (R3). And so on...

Here's what the initial analysis screen might look like.

So we can see that Flloyd got the question entirely correct (he has 1 point).

Then, we can select graph at the top of the column to see the responses screen. This is where we get to see the detail of what the responses actually were.



For each bar on the chart, you see the learner (or learners) highlighted that gave that response.

Generalising to tasks where you (can) set a correct answer

Generally, the larger the possible number of responses, the larger the "tails" of uncommon responses you could get. That is, you might have lots of different response options where only 1 or 2 learners have put this exact response. As a facilitator, you'll find the graph more or less useful depending on how your learners' responses are spread out.

Let's take a look at two quick examples.

For a cloze dropdown with 3 cloze spaces both with 2 possible answers within the dropdown we have 2 × 2 × 2 = 8 different possible responses.

For a classification task like this one below, we have hundreds of possible responses!

So you can see, the more options in a task, the broader the graph can be. Luckily, for the most part, you're learners will be mostly correct (many possible combinations won't be chosen). What we suggest here is picking the 2 or 3 most common responses and taking a look at what they were. As it's in these common responses that you should be able to identify trends/patterns.

Generalising to written (or drawn) tasks

The thing about these types of tasks, is that each learner will have their own individual response. That is, for every bar in the graph, there will be one learner.

This means the chart is more or less redundant. But... we've decided to keep the analysis option for these tasks as it still allows you to quickly track through responses by selecting the different bars (tab+enter if you want to be even quicker). You may find this useful when trying to quickly scan answers for patterns.

What you'll see for Analysis with quizzes

With a quiz, you'll see one column for each of the tasks in the quiz.

In this initial view, we can do a quick scan for patterns that might emerge.

Then, as with "stand-alone" tasks, you can select the graph at the top of the column to dive into the responses.

And select All to head back to the full list.

Why the Analysis button might be greyed out

If no learners have submitted the task, Analysis will be disabled as there's no data to analyse just yet.

Analysis will also be greyed out for certain types of tasks/ quizzes:

  • Tasks with variations

  • Quizzes with randomised themes

  • Tasks that have been edited and republished.

This is because Analysis can only compare responses across a class when the entire class has seen the exact same task.

With variations this doesn't work as some of the class will have seen variation X and some will have seen variation Y. The same is true for quizzes with randomised themes - different learners will have seen different tasks.

As soon as a task has been edited and the course republished, we are no longer comparing apples with apples. Some learners may have completed the older version of the task, some learners may have completed the new version of the task.


It can take some time to get the hang of how to interpret the data you'll get from the tasks analysis. And you will find that for some tasks, the data is more useful than others. But overall the task analysis option is a very powerful tool and it can be used effectively to adjust teaching and respond to learners' needs.

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