Advanced Questioning Techniques
Advanced questioning is asking questions that require learners "to think and respond in increasingly more challenging (deeper) ways” (ClinEdAus, n.d.). For instance, an educator might design a question set related to a controversial topic like gun control that first allows for low-level, superficial responses and then probes learners to think more deeply about the issue, considering possible hypotheticals, challenging related assumptions, and extending on previously stated positions. Advanced questioning increases learners’ recall, comprehension, and critical thinking (Tofade, Elsner, & Haines, 2013, p. 1). It also sparks meaningful class dialogue that can progress toward higher-level reasoning (MacFarlane, 2018, p. 11).
Additional benefits may include (Kaspraz, n.d.):
- Engagement of learners through active learning.
- Increase in learners’ motivation.
- Generation of ideas, including stimulation of independent learning and creativity.
- Clearer assessment of learners’ knowledge and comprehension.
Effective advanced questions are brief and thought-provoking. Questions can begin as lower-order and structured questions but should progress to those requiring higher-order and open-ended answers. Referencing Bloom’s Taxonomy, advanced questioning techniques are built over time to ask learners to analyze, evaluate, and create new knowledge.
In addition to the cognitive level of a question, the purpose of questions may vary but should be clear. Kasprzak (n.d.) offers suggestions on question types related to evaluative, exploratory, assumption challenging, relational, diagnostic, action, cause-and-effect, and other purposes. View the related chart for more information on question types and samples.
Skilled facilitation is also key in the use of advanced questioning techniques. For instance, reinforcing, probing, and refocusing are several strategies facilitators use during questioning to elicit thoughtful learner responses. This takes some practice, but you will become more comfortable with these skills over time. For more information on facilitation and planning for advanced questioning, view the following links:
For further exploration, here is a short video on fostering engaging questions to encourage meaningful replies.
ClinEdAus. (n.d.). Advanced questioning techniques. Retrieved from https://www.clinedaus.org.au/topics-category/questioning-techniques-183
Kasprzak, M. (n.d.). Questioning techniques. Retrieved from https://tatp.utoronto.ca/teaching-toolkit/supporting-students/questioning-techniques/
MacFarlane, B. (2018). High level questioning and cognition in advanced curriculum. The Curriculum Corner, 10-19. Retrieved from https://www.nagc.org/sites/default/files/Publication%20THP/THP_Winter_2018_CurriculumCorner.pdf
Tofade, T., Elsner, J., & Haines, S. T. (2013). Best practice strategies for effective use of questions as a teaching tool. American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education, 77(7), 155. https://www.ajpe.org/content/77/7/155