Top 5 Reasons Why Questions Matter in Learning

 

For some people, asking questions comes easily. It could be thanks to their inquisitive nature, emotional intelligence, or the ability to read others’ minds, but they do know how to ask apt questions, at the right time. Unfortunately, not all of us are blessed with this skill. To be fair, most of us don’t ask enough questions, nor do we pose our doubts in an optimal way.

Not asking questions is a missed opportunity in interacting with our surroundings. Let’s just say that good questions are beneficial in more ways than we can imagine. Especially in the field of education, it is quality questions that drive discussions and sharing of information.

Here are the top five reasons why questions are instrumental in an instructional setting.

To make learning a rewarding experience

Questions breed more questions. They push us to think, wonder, and once the answers are received, questions help us appreciate the knowledge received. In a 2018 study conducted by the Journal of Food Science, a set of students were encouraged to create their own questions based on Bloom’s Taxonomy. These students not only enjoyed the learning experience but also scored 7% more marks compared to the rest of the class.

For the educators, questions reveal the interest of the learners and provide a fair idea of whether the classroom discussions are progressing in the right direction. In that sense, questions serve as a tool for educators to guide conversations, and for the students, it is a means to learn, prepare, and improve their subject understanding.

To gauge the learning curve

For any learning experience to become complete, assessments are crucial. And how do educators assess? But asking questions! Questions are an important instrument, in that sense, for teachers to assess and evaluate their students. Evaluation measures the learning outcomes and helps the educators identify knowledge gaps. Additionally, educators leverage questions not just to measure the strength of their students, but to also gauge the overall learning experience to see if the teaching mechanism needs any modification.

To develop learners’ assertiveness

All educators wish for their students to successfully take on challenges. Answering questions correctly develop the necessary self-confidence for students. Mock tests, flashcards, group discussions, and more, play a big role in gaining comprehensive knowledge and preparing students thoroughly for any competitive academic challenges. When an educator poses questions and learners attempt to answer them, the latter get in control of the conversation. This goes a long way in building learners’ confidence and assuring them that they are on the right learning path. 

To drive participatory learning

Questions have the power to make learning interactive. However, the involvement and participation of the students rest on the quality of the questions. A well-designed question encourages students to think proactively and liven up the learning experience. Thankfully, no longer do educators rely on a simple question-answer format to seek responses from the learners. Quizzes, games, interactive assessments, are some of the ways educators are now connecting with the learners. Educators are also looking at some interesting platforms which allow combining different tools to present questions uniquely. For example, QuilliQuiz – Quillionz’s flashcard can be shared with learners using Raptivity, an interaction-building tool. This is a great way to create self-assessments, which can be fun too!

To encourage active learning strategies

Questions can empower, engage, and stimulate a classroom. As the well-known advocate of active learning James Ballencia says, “With the goal of teaching mindful learners who actively pursue knowledge, teachers become more actively engaged in how they teach the curriculum and how they develop each student’s learning potential. They mix and match a variety of tactics to ensure that students not only learn more, better, and faster – they also learn smarter.”

With the help of good questions, educators can put students at the center of the learning process as they take the initiative to learn. This decreases the habit of rote learning and instead fosters a holistic learning culture.

Questions are the Answer to Build Learning Environment

Proper questioning techniques are important in the teaching and learning process. They make it easier for educators to get feedback from the learners and accordingly improve the teaching process. This is important for enhancing learner motivation and promoting positive, critical, and creative thinking in the class.

The way questions are framed also stimulates learner thinking. Questioning is one of the most effective ways to get students involved in the delivery of the lesson. This is exactly where Quillionz has a role to play. Quillionz helps educators leverage the unique power of question creation. With intelligent AI algorithms that understand the content that is fed in, Quillionz lets educators create a host of questions in a matter of seconds. No wonder it has made a name for itself as the world’s first AI-powered platform for creating questions, quizzes, and notes.

Click here to learn more about how Quillionz can help you explore the true potential of quality questions.

The Secret to Take Good Notes as An Educator

We all remember scribbling down important words as the professor delivered a lecture. Ever wondered if the professors also take down notes before teaching? As a matter of fact, they do. Note-taking is just as a necessary activity for educators as it is for the learners.

Educators need to take notes to ensure that the entire course material is well covered. It helps them select the key points they need to emphasize and also quickly highlight the source of the information when needed. Studies have shown that if a summary of learning material is ready, it assists in delivering a smooth teaching session. Unfortunately, note-taking is often an underestimated process. Selecting key points and getting them ready in an easy-to-deliver fashion requires sincere effort. The quality of notes, quantity (yes, some educators do confuse writing down an entire page as “summary”), format, are a few of the areas that demand a thorough thought before one gets into note-taking. Let us look at the best practices for educators to take notes. 

Pointers on Taking NotesPointers on Taking Notes

Make a hierarchy of ideas – Poorly organized ideas can be confusing when teaching. Before the lecture, it would be a good idea to familiarize yourself with the topic and the materials required. Remember, your own engagement will reflect in the learners’ active participation.

Recognize important cues – Be selective and highlight the points which need to be elaborated beyond the written text. Think if any of those need a quick visual illustration or a sketch and prepare one accordingly. The goal here is to help the learners identify and capture the important ideas and later on be able to express those in the evaluation or assessments.

Review before and after class – Go through your key ideas for a couple of minutes and apply a framework to your thought process. This will give you time to review the quality and quantity of the notes. You can tie new concepts and ideas to the points, and rewrite for better organization and legibility.

Provide a lecture framework – It would be a good idea to provide some form of guided or skeletal notes to the students. Of course, there needs to be a balance between how much ready-made content to give to the students, but a simple outline with some room for the learners to develop their own notes should suffice. This is particularly helpful to keep the topic understanding in sync between the educator and the learner.

The Cornell note-taking method – there are several techniques (some scientifically developed; others individually devised) for taking out lecture notes. One such that has proved its worth is the Cornell Note Taking. It was developed by Prof. Walter Pauk of Cornell University in the 1950s and focuses on taking, organizing, and reviewing notes. You can read more about it here. What makes it special though is that it encourages you to reflect on your notes by making you ask yourself questions – works well with learners as well as educators! 

The Right Way to Do It

Here’s the good thing that comes with technology – handy tools for quality notes. There are a couple of those available, either paid or free of cost, depending on the features you decide to choose. For instance, there’s

  • Scriblink – This is an online whiteboard that lets you draw or write on a digital canvas. It opens in your web browser, comes with a simple toolbox, and has a built-in conference system so you can add participants and share the whiteboard or save your work for future references.
  • Padlet – With this one, you can copy-paste or drag and drop images and text pieces from other web pages.

While these (and more like these) are mostly tools for documenting and sharing content, they don’t necessarily help in creating notes from scratch and automatically. If that is your concern, you will need to check Quillionz Test – the world’s first AI-powered teaching assistant. Quillionz Test works as a summary generator and creates editable notes from the content you key in/paste, using its AI capabilities. Imagine writing a summary of an article within seconds! Users prefer calling it summary notes or precis and vouch for it as the best app for making notes. In fact, one of the most loved features of Quillionz Test is its ability to highlight key portions of the text and summarizing the main points, as this is hugely helpful in reinforcing the core concepts.

What are your tips, as an educator, to take high-quality notes? How do you summarize the text? You can write to us at info@quillionz.com or leave your comments below.

Enabling Instructional Designers with AI-based Technology – Case Study

About the Client

The customer is a leading design and development company, specializing in custom eLearning development. They create training material for their clients and also provide content curation services.

Business situation

Since the client designs training and assessment content for L&D divisions of the other companies, they are needed to work on designing assessment questions as part of the training content, from time to time. This was a tedious and time-consuming task for their instructional designers as they had to manually curate questions from training content. At times, depending on the content, an SME would also be involved.

Now, framing questions manually is a big time sink for these instructional designers. A single good multiple-choice question may take up to 15 minutes to write. And you need a good number of such questions to each assessment. When you add expert reviews and client feedback to this, it implies a lot of added time and effort. That seemed to be a gap someone had to fill. The client started looking for a solution which could enable their instructional designers to create and curate questions faster, with no compromise on quality.

Our solution:

Solving the client’s challenge implied using an AI & ML-powered automatic question generation system, which could be fed with the content to produce assessment questions. The client then turned to Quillionz, – a leading AI-powered question generator, for help. Quillionz specializes in automated question generation from digital content. It uses proprietary AI and ML algorithms to generate and curate questions.

The client’s instructional designers started making use of Quillionz to generate questions based on the learning content. It drastically reduced their manual creation and curation efforts.

Benefits:

The client noticed several benefits, with the use of Quillionz, in their workflow. Some of the prominent ones were:

  • Better Questions with human touch, generated by data-driven approach than structured questions
  • Time and cost saving in terms of efforts spent by SMEs, Instructional designers and quality check teams
  • Lesser dependency on domain experts for curation and quality validation of questions

Increased business potential capacity

The Importance of Interpretive Questions

We, human beings, are inquisitive by nature. We ask questions regularly and answer many too, almost every day. The purpose is not just to talk or communicate, but to deepen our understanding of a subject or topic. That’s the very reason why questions are indispensable in the education domain too. They are an important source of knowledge assessment, and in turn, filling out any gaps.

Educators use different types of questions to assess learners, the most basic ones being – factual questions. Factual questions have a clear single answer which is found in the learning content. The learner doesn’t really have to comprehend the text or think logically to answer them, a simple recall would let them answer the question correctly. For instance, the following questions would come under the category of factual questions.

  • Who is president of America?
  • What is the capital of Japan?
  • Where was the first case of the 2019–20 Coronavirus outbreak identified?

All the above questions have only one fact-based answer. Not undermining their importance in any way, but factual questions are good when you just want the learner to remember specific things. The idea is to take the learner into the learning content and have them remember important things.

factual questions

But, when you want learners to think beyond what is written and derive logical interpretations, interpretive questions are probably what you need to ask.  Interpretive questions usually start with why or how and build upon the learning content. They might have more than one answer and usually aim to take the learner through the content. Learners are required to revisit content to collect supporting evidence since the answers to interpretive questions might be debatable.

For instance, here are some generic interpretive questions that could apply to multiple content pieces.

  • What patterns do you sense in this whole writeup?
  • What were some of the positive effects of this situation?
  • What do you think is the ultimate reason Google collects so much of our personal information?

Interpretive questions generally spark and keep discussions going. Apart from all the earlier mentioned considerations, interpretive questions come with some implicit benefits for learners like stimulating their comprehension and reasoning abilities and improving their oral and written language.

Quillionz Pro, the premium version of Quillionz – world’s first AI-powered question generator, now also generates higher-order interpretive questions. When Quillionz was launched, it could create a variety of questions on your content, including multiple-choice questions, recall questions and short descriptive questions, but higher-order questions were a distant dream. It mostly generated factual questions that required learners to identify and recall specific entities, keywords, and phrases, define key terms, and describe key ideas encountered in the content.

Then came Quillionz Pro, where the question quality got better, generation-time got shorter, and output formats got wider. And now, with the launch of interpretive questions in Quillionz Pro, you can get questions that evaluate the learners’ ability to draw parallels or comparisons, infer implied causal relationships, or explain implicit themes and concepts in the content. With all these added advantages, there is no reason why an educator should not be trying out this tool. Available at a nominal price of $9.99/month or $24.99/3 months, Quillionz Pro can be purchased here.

5 Must-Have Additions for Your Ed-Tech Toolkit for 2020

2020 is here. Technology knows no bounds. Ed-tech, specifically, is soaring. There are many tools around to ease educators’ lives – some are new yet disruptive while some have been around for years and still going strong. Out of the thousands of ed-tech tools available, I am going to pick up my favorite 5. Add them to your teaching arsenal this year to make an impressive toolkit and you might just be thanking me soon. Have a look.

  • InsertLearning

InsertLearning is a tool that allows teachers to insert instructional content on any web page. With this tool, educators can turn a web page into an interactive lesson. They can highlight text; add questions, comments, and videos; and even test students. It works as a browser extension on Chrome. There are free and paid versions of the tool available. Teachers can pick and choose based on the number of lessons they want to turn into an interactive experience.

Sign up for InsertLearning here. 

  • Quillionz

Quillionz - Question generatorWith AI poised as the next big thing in education, you cannot afford to ignore it. The same goes for questions, they are imperative to education. What if you get a tool that generates questions from your learning content, in a matter of seconds, using AI. That’s exactly what Quillionz does. Quillionz is the world’s first AI-powered question-generator that works with any textual content – a chapter in the textbook, an article off the internet, or even a video transcript. Quillionz offers a free as well as paid version for use.

Sign up for Quillionz here.

  • Prezi

Prezi is a web-based tool for creating presentations. It comes with highly visual presentation capabilities, which help engage students during lessons. With designer templates, reusable presentations, and a PowerPoint-to-Prezi converter, there’s no need to start from scratch. You could find the presentation that you like and repurpose it with your own content. Prezi offers a free trial for 14 days and post that, you could choose between multiple subscription plans.

Sign up for Prezi here.

  • Raptivity 2020

Raptivity 2020

As the world’s first tool for building visually stimulating learning interactions, Raptivity 2020 brings in some unique, vibrant, and sleek interactions to present your learning content. Vertical and horizontal parallax, 3D image, layered display, panning slides, and happy meter are some templates included in this powerful tool. All templates are specifically suited to modern-day design and learning styles. These interactions are truly responsive, xAPI compliant, and suitable to build engaging micro-learning experiences.

You could start a fully-functional trial of Raptivity 2020 and choose to pay up later.

  • Wizer

Wizer is a tool that lets you create and share interactive worksheets with your students online. Add video, audio, images and a variety of question types your worksheets and assign them to students via Google Classroom or any learning management system. You could also save time with automatic checking & grading. Wizer is free for teachers. It does offer premium digital curriculum services to schools and districts.

Sign up for Wizer here

Have you used any of the above tools? How was your experience? Also, let me know if you any recommendations for ed-tech tools that your peers can explore this year. Comment below.