Targeting Questions in The Classroom Vs. Questions To The Entire Group

The Importance Of Targeting Questions In Training Sessions By Robert Bacal

Many trainers are hesitant to pose a question to a specific learner in the training session, and often pose questions like:

  • Does anyone know....
  • Can anyone think of...

to the entire group.

The problem is that because the question is posed to the entire group, there's a tendency for learners to let someone else answer, and that leave the trainer facing a wall of silence, which is not only uncomfortable, but derails the momentum of the instructional process.

The Solution: Target Your Questions

You are far better off choosing a specific person to ask your question. That's called targeting the question.

The best way to do that is to use the person's name, followed by your question. For example: "Paul, have you ever come across a situation where...", or Jane, can you apply this principle to your own job?"

Benefits of Using Targeted Questions In The Instructional Process

  1. It encourages learners to pay attention, and increases learner engagement, since participants quickly learn that they are expected to be part of the learning process.
  2. It allows better control of who responds to questions. This is a means of handling the "high responder", the person who tends to dominate discussions, and also the "low responder", the person who is hesitant to participate. You can draw in reticent participants, and spread the interactions more effectively.
  3. It allows the trainer or group leader to individualize instruction. Astute trainers ask questions to individuals that are specific to the experiences, knowledge and skill levels of the specific person. Less able people can be asked "simpler questions", while the more advanced can be asked deeper questions that require application of knowledge, and critical thinking.


There's more advice and tips to help trainers use questioning more effectively in the classroom here.

Tags: #teachers #trdev #training #learning #questions #effective questioning #instruction #targeted questions

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