Learning situations, exercises, learning tasks...

For better understanding, a few terminology precisions...

Different terms will be used to describe the players' learning and training context sometimes diferent terms are used when we refer to the same reality.

We do not propose here to make a theoretical presentation of the concepts at stake but simply to specify how and why we use certain terms.


A task is "what needs to be done". It is defined by a precise goal, under precise conditions. The goal often goes with instructions which are either relative to the task's function ("go out of the court and move back into place after hitting" for example) or procedural constraints, relative to the way of attaining the goal (reach the target "by hitting the ball with one hand" for example).

This is therefore a basic concept for many human activities far beyond sports. It enables us to describe the frame of activity and enables us to analyse which resources will be called upon to achieve the task.


An exercise is a task in which we practice, we stabilise and we refine already existing abilities.

Learning task

A learning task is a task created with the aim of teaching to learn. Since a task mobilises resources, a learning task is set up to call for clearly identified resources. Depending on our chosen reference, these resources will be cognitive, motor, affective, energetic or even technical, tactical, physical, mental.

It is absolutely essential to know precisely what we are looking to teach and develop across the players through a given task. There will always be several resources needed but we will define a priority, a dominant on which the work will focus.

The demand to achieve that task will always be slightly superior to the available resources foster the elevation of these resources. If the task is too easy it is successful but does not raise the resources. If it is too hard it causes systematic failure and does not teach anything. In both cases it is not motivating.

Throughout many years we have noticed that the pupils abilities were much more often underestimated that overestimated and therefore that the difficulty of tasks was more frequently too low rather than too high. By definition a learning task causes trials and errors. The teacher's understandable desire to see the pupil succeed makes hime sometimes too impatient and too worried about errors. See on this subject the teacher's intervention.

Since the pupil does not immediately have the level of resources to succeed in a learning task, it represents for him, by definition, a problem to solve.

Learning situation

We use the term of learning situation when; on top of the description of the task, we take into account the whole teaching context: the objectives aimed at, the planning, le teacher's role, the context (school, association) etc.

Beyond "what needs to be done", we describe in this way the global system in which the different actors activity develops. This context takes a large part in the meaning of this activity.

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