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Questions: A Facilitator’s Best Friend!

Posted by Lynne Koltookian on 2/9/11 4:21 AM
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questions_a_facilitators_best_friend.jpgSource: Wikipedia

In college I took a news writing course to sharpen my writing skills. Little did I know that my professor, formerly an editor for the Wall Street Journal, took no prisoners when it came to writing well! She taught us that if we write a news article about someone or something, we have to answer five basic types of questions; who, what, when, where and how.  Well, there are also many types of questions we trainers can use when we want to lead a nice class discussion or to facilitate learning

You may already be familiar with the two main types of questions which are open and closed ended. Open-ended questions cannot be answered by a simple yes or no. They promote reflection and can be answered in many different ways. A closed-ended question is typically answered with a simple yes or no response

But did you know that there are actually three different types of questions we can use in our training sessions?

1. Knowledge Question – We use this type of question to test a learner’s ability to recall basic information. For example, we might ask, “What is the capital of Hawaii?”

2. Comprehension Question – We use this type of question to find out if a learner understands the meaning of something. For example, we might ask, “What does the word facilitate mean?”

3. Application Question – We use this type of question to see if a learner can apply concepts to a real world environment. For example, we might ask, “How would you apply this teaching technique in your training classes?”

Questions really are a facilitator’s best friend. We have many varieties to choose from and they have multiple uses! We use them to promote class discussions, facilitate learning, motivate learners, test learners and check for understanding. When we use different types of questions, we are actually tapping into the different ways adults learn.

So, be sure to use many different types of questions in your training sessions to keep your class motivated and engaged! If you want to learn more about different levels of questions and many additional ways to motivate your learners, jcheck out our How Adults Learn workshop - now avaialbe as a virtual class, too! 


Lynne has been a course leader with Langevin since 2007. She completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from Penn State University and a Master’s degree in Education from Boston University. After working many years in human resources and sales, Lynne transitioned into training, her true passion, where she’s been facilitating since 1994. Her training philosophy is simple—learning should be fun! The essence of a good instructor is someone who can make complex things easy to understand and fun to learn. In her free time, you’ll find Lynne cycling, hiking, downhill skiing, and scuba diving.

Topics: facilitation, instructional techniques, instructor-led training

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Our very own world-class course leaders share their experiences, tips, best practices, and expertise on virtual training, instructional design, needs analysis, e-learning, delivery, evaluation, presentation skills, facilitation, and much more!

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