Stages & Tasks
All scenarios typically contain two types of decisions – Interim and Output decisions. Users of your scenario will work through interim decisions before selecting one or more output decisions to finish or finalise the scenario. For example, this might be working through a set of medical tests to reach a diagnosis for a patient, or it might be working through lab processes to process evidence and writing a report. Some scenarios will not use interim decisions and some not output decisions
Tasks (often called Stages, Questions or Sections) provide a mechanism to partition up your scenario with each section having its own set of decisions (either interim or output). This is useful for lab processes, or complex crime scenes where different activities are grouped together, for example. It is also used for questions with multiple answers (for example MCQ’s), as answering each question is a different task.
When should I use Tasks?
Tasks are used in 3 situations:
- MCQ’s or Questions – when you would like the user to select discrete questions. In this case, stages are branded as ‘Questions’ and each question has one or more output decisions (i.e. the answer(s)).
- Antibody Panels – these are a special version of a stage, and use special functionality of stages. Whilst you add these as stages, they are not used in the same way as normal Tasks or Stages.
- Scenarios with discrete ‘Tasks’ – either linearly or sub-tasks – for example diving in and out of analysing evidence, or a part of a scenario or problem, or running through discrete tasks as part of a scenario. Good examples of these are crime scenes, lab practicals and pathology exercises.
If you don’t need to use MCQ’s or your scenarios are not complex, you should not use Tasks.
When should I NOT use Tasks?
For simple case studies or processes, you should not use Tasks. This is particularly the case when the scenario just focuses on one activity and needs only one set of interim decisions to reach one or more output decisions.
One way to consider whether you need to use tasks is to group together your interim and output decisions. If they are all related in some form, and they can all be grouped together because they relate to the same type of decisions being made (for example they are all blood tests reaching a particular diagnosis, or they are all interview questions), and you only end up having a single group of interim and output decisions, you do not need to use tasks.