Factual Questions In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

Factual Questions In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know
Summary: The famous author, Mark Twain, once said “Get your facts first, then you can distort them as you please”. As eLearning professionals, it is our duty to give our learners the facts, and to ensure that they comprehend these facts, so that they have the power to apply the information in whatever way they wish. In this article, I’ll explore the types of factual questions and how you can use them to gauge learner progress, improve knowledge retention, and build cognitive thinking skills in your eLearning course.

Factual Questions In eLearning

Factual questions require fact-based answers. There is only one correct answer, which can be verified by referring to the text or other learning materials. For example, a learner may be asked to look at a passage, then answer a series of factual questions based on what they just read. This form of inquiry does not involve personal feelings or opinions, and every response must have supporting evidence. Factual questions allow eLearning professionals to determine how much a learner knows, and what they need to know in order to fill the learning gap.

Types Of Factual Questions

  1. Who, What, When, Where, or How.
    This type of factual questions require a straightforward fact-based response. For example, a “Who” question would ask a learner to identify a specific person, while the “How” question response would involve a process.
  2. Why.
    The “Why” question is less conventional, and requires the learner to give a reason or explanation to their response. “Why does the sales consultant in the eLearning scenario offer the customer a return?” is an example of a “Why” factual question. It’s important to note that this type of question must have a verifiable answer in order to be considered factual.

How To Use Factual Questions in eLearning

  1. Get your facts straight.
    The only way factual questions can accurately test your learner’s knowledge is if they have supporting evidence that is 100% correct. The answer has to be in the eLearning content you have provided to your audience, and there can be no room for debate. For example, if you are asking your learners a question that can be interpreted in many different ways or has a variety of different answers, then it is not a factual question. You should also check every question you write, to ensure that everything is based in fact. Keep in mind that proactive learners are going to be checking their incorrect answers by referring to the corresponding eLearning content, and you need to be certain that they have correct answers waiting for them. Otherwise, they won’t be able to acquire the accurate pieces of information and to correct their learning behaviors accordingly.
  2. Use factual questions to break the ice.
    In addition to gauging learner comprehension, factual questions can also be employed to prepare them for more complex subject matter. Ask them a series of factual questions in the beginning of the lesson to determine what they already know, and to give them a preview of what they will be learning in the coming lessons. Factual questions can simplify complicated topics, as well, by breaking them into more digestible elements. For example, you can create a handful of factual questions that cover the key takeaways of an online lesson.
  3. Research your audience to determine level of difficulty.
    To create effective factual questions you must have a clear idea of who you are creating them for. This will give you the ability to design questions that are challenging, but not so difficult that your learners become discouraged or frustrated. Conduct online surveys or pre-course assessments to figure out what they already know and what they need to know by the end of their eLearning experience. Keep in mind that your factual questions should be an invaluable assessment tool for your learners. If you include questions that are too challenging or too basic, the results simply won’t be accurate and your learners won’t be able to track their progress.
  4. Use different factual question types to cover all angles of the topic.
    Include a good mix of Who, What, When, Where, How, and Why questions to determine how much a learner truly knows about the topic. For example, ask them to identify who the characters are in the story-based scenario, as well as what roles they played, and why they exhibited the behavior they did. Rather than just creating one question for every concept or idea, develop a handful of factual questions that cover all angles of the topic. Rewording a question by using the various question formats is another option. It allows you to repeat key concepts without boring your learners, and improves their knowledge retention.
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  5. Provide your learners with adequate resources.
    This tip is actually two-fold. Firstly, you must provide your learners with the tools they need to answer the questions. Secondly, you should offer them resources to correct their answers and expand their knowledge of the subject on their own. You cannot expect them to answer factual questions if they do not have access to the facts. If possible, make the information available on a wide range of platforms, so that your learners can view the learning materials on their mobile devices and on all browsers. For more complex subjects, you may want to offer them a study guide, which they can use to prepare for the upcoming assessment, or let them know which particular aspects of the lesson they can expect to see on the test.

Factual questions may be simple and straightforward, but you should never underestimate their power in the virtual classroom. Use this guide to test your learners’ knowledge and improve their comprehension of the subject matter through repetition and recall.

To create an effective factual question, it’s wise to know how a learner’s mind will process it. Read the article 6 Scientifically Proven Brain Facts That eLearning Professionals Should Know to discover 6 scientifically proven brain facts that every eLearning pro should know before creating their next eLearning course.