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.
- Open your e-learning with a question, rather than a list of objectives
- Don’t be afraid to use questions that don’t have a clear answer, use the feedback effectively to deal with shades of grey
- 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
- 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
- Use questions to test knowledge application, rather than just to test the knowledge
- Use a series of questions as the key mechanism to deliver learning points through an extended scenario
- Use a quick fun quiz to give the learner a bit of light relief
- Ask a pictorial question, “What does this person’s body language suggest…?”
- Use a question to be provocative and grab the learner’s attention
- Use an open input question to ask the learner to summarise the key learning points from a section, rather than just telling them.