3 (More) Ways to Ask Better Questions

9factsCreating engaging elearning programs certainly requires the use of dynamic questions to drive home the learning.

Be it a quiz at the end of a course or knowledge checkpoints throughout, the way you form your questions will go a long way in the effectiveness of the elearning course.

Since asking smart questions is a critical component to supplementing any learning program, it’s important to get it right. In a previous article, we discussed some tactics to engage learners with questions that require reflection and critical thinking – this particular post will expand upon those ideas, offering some additional considerations.

The three strategies below are ideal for any learning event, especially for those that are instructor-led as they often tend to lend themselves to robust discussion. Remember that in the end the questions you ask will go a long way in determining the effectiveness of the training.

A Few More Strategies

Be Specific – Generic questions regarding broad plans, programs, or even policies puts the onus on the learner to participate. Instead of asking learners to offer up their thoughts, frame the question so that it expects an answer. For example, don’t ask questions that require “work” (i.e. “do you have any comments…”). Instead, ask “how” questions and frame the situation (i.e. “how would you change…”).

Be Brief – It can be easy to become long-winded when asking questions. If a question is over three sentences long, more often than not the learner will immediately begin browsing the answer selections, searching for a probable answer without really considering what was asked. Keep questions short and to the point. If necessary, break out long questions into multiple questions.

Provide Context – Context is a very important factor in any question as it helps to guide the learner’s thinking and reflection of the content. Contextualizing a question is a great way to motivate future discussions.




About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the most trusted WordPress LMS for major universities, continuing education providers, and entrepreneurs world-wide. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies.

One Comment
  1. Mark Scott

    As a former classroom teacher I used Bloom’s taxonomy and Costa’s three levels of questions when writing my questions. Bloom’s taxonomy includes six levels of questions that progress from knowledge based to evaluation. Costa’s are more focused on the student’s perspective. Combining these with being brief, specific, and in context is a lot to digest but as you mention, asking the right questions makes a big impact in terms of the quality of instruction/training.

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