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Ten ways to improve your e-learning

Read Deborah Limb's ten ways to improve your e-learning with questions.Questions are one of the best tools instructional designers have available to them.

Questions are one of the best tools instructional designers have available to them – yet they are woefully underused.

Asking a question is a quick and simple way to bring immediate interactivity to e-learning, to grab the learner’s attention, to make the learner do some work.

Questions can be used in a whole range of ways and certainly not just for post course assessment:

“Seeing questions only as fodder for assessments pushes us away from their most important use: as a powerful mechanisms to improve learning.”

(Will Thalheimer 2003)

So let’s not waste any opportunity to ask a good question – here are ten occasions when you could use a question to improve learning.

  1. Open your e-learning with a question, rather than a list of objectives
  2. Don’t be afraid to use questions that don’t have a clear answer, use the feedback effectively to deal with shades of grey
  3. Use questions to help the learner diagnose what they know and what they don’t know before they start the e-learning so they can make informed decisions about what to spend their valuable time on
  4. Use questions to follow up on the key learning points delivered – so show a video/animation sequence, then ask the learner questions about it.  You could use questions to follow up on any ‘show and tell’ learning cycles to check everyone’s been paying attention
  5. Use questions to test knowledge application, rather than just to test the knowledge
  6. Use  a series of questions as the key mechanism to deliver learning points through an extended scenario
  7. Use a quick fun quiz to give the learner a bit of light relief
  8. Ask a pictorial question, “What does this person’s body language suggest…?”
  9. Use a question to be provocative and grab the learner’s attention
  10. Use an open input question to ask the learner to summarise the key learning points from a section, rather than just telling them.


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