As part of the survey of crowdworkers’ learning practices, I explored the nature of tasks they undertake within crowdwork platforms using two sets of previously validated and published scales: the Classification Structure of Knowledge-intensive Processes and some items from the ‘Knowledge Characteristics’ sub-scale of the Work Design Questionnaire.
In particular, the participants were asked to indicate which of the following 15 task types most closely described their typical crowdwork tasks (they could choose all options that applied):
- My crowdwork tasks are mostly routine
- My crowdwork tasks are highly reliant on formal processes
- My crowdwork tasks don’t give me freedom to decide what should be done in any particular situation
- My crowdwork tasks are mostly systematically repeatable
- My crowdwork tasks are highly reliant on formal standards
- My crowdwork tasks are dependent on integration across functional or disciplinary boundaries
- My crowdwork tasks are improvisational/creative
- My crowdwork tasks are highly reliant on my deep expertise/personal judgement
- My crowdwork tasks are dependent on collaborating with others
- My crowdwork tasks are highly reliant on my own individual expertise/experience
- My crowdwork tasks involve solving problems that have no obvious correct answer
- My crowdwork tasks involve dealing with problems I have not met before
- My crowdwork tasks require unique ideas/solutions to problems
- My crowdwork tasks require me to use a variety of skills to complete the work
- My crowdwork tasks require me to use a number of complex or high-level skills
Here are the results from the two groups: microworkers (Figure 1) and online freelancers (Figure 2). Among microworkers the three most prevalent characterisations of tasks were routine, systematically repeatable and requiring a variety of skills. And among online freelancers the most prevalent tasks were those that required a variety of skills and uniquie ideas and solutions, dealing with novel problem, and were reliant on their own individual expertise and experience.
Figure 1. Microworkers’ perceptions of the nature of their crowdwork tasks
Figure 2. Online freelancers’ perceptions of the nature of their crowdwork tasks
I’m working on a paper comparing these findings with earlier findings from a study of how conventional workers describe the nature of their tasks to see if there are any statistically significant differences and whether a similar typology emerges from the crowdwork settings. Stay tuned!