Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Asking the right questions

A Zen saying goes like this - "Only the crystal-clear question yields a transparent answer".

The importance and value of asking the right question has been established by many. What is a right question one may ask? Well, I believe that the right question has an answer that opens our eyes to better understanding and greater knowledge. A right question is also one that is asked at the right time.

On the subject of asking the right questions, some of the articles/blogs that I have enjoyed reading are:
http://elearningtech.blogspot.com/2006/07/better-questions-for-learning.html http://michelemartin.typepad.com/thebambooprojectblog/2009/06/do-you-know-how-to-ask-the-right-questions.html


Asking the right questions is important towards our learning efforts both personal and professional. But I have a question. Are we giving our learners the opportunity to ask the right questions within the training that we develop for them? Are we allowing the learners to ask questions and then receive information (pull) vs. dump a lot of information and content on them irrespective (push)? How are we ensuring that in our training, learners are asked questions, given an opportunity to reflect and respond to the questions, and then provided feedback/coaching based on the response?

One of the techniques that I have used when creating training is using
Socratic Questioning. This technique is difficult to implement, is rigorous, and needs immense thought during the initial analysis and design of the training. But I believe that using such a technique can help me make better training - one that helps learners not only build their questioning skills but also critical thinking skills that are so important for any learning initiative.