|Effective use of questions can keep an audience engaged in an event, allowing participants to discover a concept for themselves. You can also use questions to test learners' knowledge of the material and even to help maintain control in the classroom. |
There are different methods used for classifying questions. One method is to categorize questions as either convergent or divergent. Convergent questions, sometimes referred to as closed questions, generally involve remembering facts or applying knowledge to a specific situation. Typically, this type of question begins with a word like who, what where, or when. For example, "What is a router's purpose?" Convergent questions help instill confidence and are often very effective early in an event when learners are more hesitant to share their opinions or take risks.
Divergent questions, sometimes referred to as open questions, have multiple correct answers or even unclear answers. Divergent questions encourage problem solving and involve judgment and personal opinion. They tend to push a learner beyond the examples used in class. They are very effective later in an event. You can also use probing questions to get learners to provide further information, justify an answer, or clarify a response. Probing questions cause learners to develop higher-order thinking skills. Similarly, you can use hypothetical questions to immerse learners in a situation in preparation for a "real world" scenario.
Levels of questions
Questions can also be divided into levels: low-level and high-level. Low-level questions are highly convergent and typically check for concrete knowledge learned. They require learners to demonstrate basic knowledge and comprehension. High-level questions require synthesis, analysis, and evaluation. In general, a low-level understanding is necessary to provide an answer to a high-level question.
Advantages and disadvantages
Of course, there are advantages and disadvantages to each type of question. of the two types, convergent questions are asked most frequently and are easier to answer. Divergent questions are more difficult, but can indicate more accurately how well the material is being understood. Both convergent and divergent questions are valuable. You'll want to use both types in your event.