Leading Questions In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know

Leading Questions In eLearning: What eLearning Professionals Should Know
Summary: Looking for ways to encourage your learners to think outside the box and tackle challenges from a whole new angle? Leading questions have the power to guide your learners’ thought processes so that they can draw their own conclusions. In this article, I’ll highlight 4 different types of leading questions and I’ll give you 5 tips on how to use leading questions in your next eLearning course.

Leading Questions In eLearning

Leading questions, also known as “loaded” questions, are designed to influence and guide the learner. More often than not, leading questions contain subtle hints that allude to the correct answer. This form of questioning often has a negative connotation, due to the fact that it has the power to coerce a learner into thinking a certain way, instead of giving them the opportunity to find their solutions. However, when used properly, leading questions have the potential to trigger the thought process and encourage learners to reflect upon key concepts and ideas.

4 Types of Leading Questions

  1. Assumptive.
    As its name suggests, this type of question makes an assumption that guides the learner in a specific direction. “How much do you like the eLearning scenario?” would be an example of an assumptive question, as you are automatically assuming that the learner enjoyed the experience and are simply asking them to clarify how much they liked the scenario.
  2. Personal input.
    This type of leading question encourages the leaner to share a personal opinion or thought. It often requires a “yes" or “no” response. An example of a personal input question would be: “There seems to be a growing trend in mobile phone usage, don’t you think?” The question already implies that there is a trend and encourages the learner to offer their personal input.
  3. Implication.
    Implication questions center on the “cause and effect” principle, whereby one event will lead to a negative or positive consequence. “If you don’t follow this process during the simulation, how do you think it will affect the outcome?” would be an example of an implication questions. It prompts the learner to explore what might happen if they follow their current course of action, as well all other variables.
  4. Coercive.
    This is the least favorable type of leading question, as it forces your learner into thinking a certain way. “Don’t you think that the employee onboarding process is too long?” is an example of a coercive question. Learners aren’t likely to answer honestly, and you’ve already told them the answer you want to hear.

5 Tips On How To Use Leading Questions In eLearning

  1. Make it challenging.
    Craft leading questions that offer the ideal amount of difficulty for your learners by conducting audience research beforehand. Figure out what they know and what they expect to learn. If the question is too difficult, rephrase it in order to guide them in the right direction. The primary purpose of a leading question is to focus your learner’s attention so that they have the opportunity to arrive at their own conclusions.
  2. Craft leading questions carefully.
    The trick to creating effective leading questions is distinguishing between manipulation and guidance. It’s quite easy to blur the line between the two when formulating the leading questions for your eLearning experience, as it’s all a matter of phrasing and word choice. Examine each question to make sure that it isn’t coercive in any way, and that it doesn’t include your own personal thoughts or opinions. Let your learner think for themselves, without being pushed into your train of thought.
  3. Timing is everything.
    In addition to the phrasing of your question, you also need to be careful about where you place it in your eLearning course. Make sure that you ask the question at a time when your learners have just enough information to answer it correctly, so that they are able to apply the knowledge and move it to their long term memory banks. If you ask a question too early, they simply won’t have enough previously learned knowledge to draw upon. On the other hand, asking the question too late in the learning process will take the challenge out of the eLearning activity, as well as reduce their ability to retain and recall the subject matter effectively.
  4. Never underestimate your learners’ intelligence.
    It’s perfectly acceptable to center a leading question on a more rudimentary subject matter. However, you should never craft leading questions that are so basic that they insult the intelligence of your learners. Asking them a question that anyone with a bit of common sense could answer correctly won’t add any real value to your eLearning course or encourage your learners to explore the topic. Makes sure that all of your leading questions are relevant and require some degree of skill or insight to answer.
  5. Leading questions ALWAYS have a correct answer.
    One of the distinguishing characteristics of a leading question is that it has a single correct answer. A question like “What does everyone think about this amazing image?” would not be an effective leading question, for example. Not only would each of your learners have their own unique response, but you are implying that they should think the image is amazing. To ensure that your leading question does have a single correct answer, carefully analyze the phrasing, word usage, and tone. If there is even the slightest possibility that a learner might be confused by the question or unsure about what response you are looking for, then reword it to provide more clarity.

Lead your learners in the right direction and then give them the power to think for themselves. Use this article as a guide to design leading eLearning questions that engage and inspire your learners, without resorting to coercion.

One of the most significant benefits of using leading questions is that they encourage the learner to think while guiding them in the right direction. The  article Direct Learners’ Attention: 5 Tips For eLearning Professionals features 5 additional tips you can use to direct your learners’ attention and improve their comprehension.