Why do instructors use questions in their training sessions? We use them to increase participation, provoke thought, motivate learners, or even summarize a topic. One of the most common reasons to use questions is to check for learner understanding. While asking questions may seem like a simple task, it is perhaps the most powerful tool we possess as instructors.
Asking the right questions could inspire our learners to new heights of vision and insight. A good question can inspire critical awareness, as well as help yield an unexpected level of understanding. Creating awe-inspiring questions takes the same amount of prep as your course content.
Here are five essential steps to create questions that will increase participation, inspire learners, and ensure your learners “get it:”
1. Keep your course objectives in mind. The questions you ask should help learners practice the course objectives, as well as communicate the facts, ideas, and thoughts that are important to their learning in the course.
2. Create questions that are clear and concise and contain only one idea. Questions that are multilayered can be confusing. Use a sequence of simple questions to build depth and complexity. You want your questions to be challenging but “answerable.”
3. Use familiar language in your questions. For example, incorporate the key terms and definitions from the course.
4. Create questions that require reasoning rather than memory. This type of question will require the learner to answer questions with their own thoughts.
5. Ensure your questions have a specific direction—from learner to instructor or from learner to learner.
After delivering training, reflect on which questions were most effective and which questions were not. If any changes need to be made, take some time to refine your questions for the next course.
What steps do you take when creating questions for your courses? Please share your thoughts in the comment section below.
Want to learn more tips on effective questioning? Check out our Instructional Techniques for New Instructors workshop.