3 Big Questions to Ask Your Learners

Question 1 – What do you need?

The temptation might be to ask your learners, what do you want? But this will only give you surface understanding.

‘Wants’ can change by the minute, ‘Needs’ are about survival.

Asking what a learner needs forces everyone to go deeper and deal with the stuff that really matters.

  • What do you need to be successful?
  • What do you need to do your job effectively?
  • What do you need to thrive?

A learning experience that is planned and delivered with the answer to these questions in mind will have a much greater and lasting impact for learners.


Question 2 – How do you learn?

This can be a tricky one for learners to answer, however, it is still vital to ask. The answer to this question will shape your entire course or interaction.

I’m sure you’ve heard about Visual, Auditory and Kinaesthetic learners, but there is an ever growing number of categories that learners can identify with in regard to learning styles (Pragmatist, Activist, Reflector, Theorist, Global, Analytical, Social….and the list goes on).

There are online inventories (free and paid) that you can recommend to your learners. The results of these can inform your understanding of your learners and significantly impact how you design your course or interaction.

Another option is to give your learners a problem and watch how they solve it.

For example, have your learners imagine that they have been asked to repair the engine in a car that won’t start. Assume they have little or no understanding of how engines work and observe how they learn the skills to complete the task?

Do they:

  • go in search of a manual?
  • call a mechanic for instructions?
  • start pulling the motor apart?
  • gather together to discuss options?

Their responses will give you clues as to how they like to learn, and the types of activities you need to include to help the learning stick.


Question 3 – What do you already know?

This question may seem redundant. People are coming to you to learn new things, right? But tapping into what your learners already know will allow you to pitch the learning at the appropriate level and ensure you are not wasting valuable time going over areas that everyone already understands.

Asking this question also allows the learners to have a voice in the experience.

You can ask people to share stories from their life, offer real-life examples and even provide valuable insights that you may not have considered.


Responding to these three quick questions can change the shape of your organisation’s learning experiences (for the better!).

But now a question for you – How will you put these questions into action for your next online course or training opportunity?

Not sure? Give me a call to discuss how I might help or stay tuned for the next post.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s