Instructor Development

The Question


Michael Warren

November 24, 2021

November 24, 2021

“To be or not to be. That is the question.” No that’s not the question we’re talking about.

“Will you m…” No, no, no. That is definitely NOT the question we are talking about.

The question that we are referring to is the question you ask during one of your training sessions. It doesn’t really matter what the topic is or the content, it’s just a question you ask to elicit a response from someone in your class.

Except for one thing. Many of us (hand raised here) don’t wait for the answer. Instead we answer it ourselves. Heck, we know the answer. So, why not make sure the correct answer is given?

Because the learning isn’t nearly as good when you do this. It’s convenient for us because we don’t have to wait (and wait, and wait) for someone to finally get it right. But training shouldn’t be about us - it’s always about them. So, here are a couple of things to think about.

First up, someone getting the answer wrong isn’t the end of the world. In fact, it’s just the opposite. If a wrong answer is given, and then the instructor provides immediate feedback, the learning will actually be longer and stronger than if they got it right in the first place. Notice I said “feedback” - I didn’t say ridicule, or make fun of, or any of the other goofy stuff we sometimes do. Constructive, instructive feedback is the answer.

Second, be patient. Master the art of asking a question and letting it hang. It’s uncomfortable. The seconds seem like minutes. The urge to answer is incredible. Resist it! Don’t give in. If they just aren’t answering, ask a follow up question that helps lead them along the path to answering the original question. If they still don’t answer, perhaps we need to cover the material again.

Asking questions is part of the learning process. It also provides feedback for you, the instructor. Maybe we didn’t do a good job of delivering the material. And we really DO need to go over it again - maybe in a different way. Probably in a better way.

Ask the question. Ask lots of questions. It assists in the learning. Ask it - and then let them answer the question.