How to Use Questions to Create Powerful Microlearning Content


Creating content that goes beyond simple memorization isn’t easy! In a microlearning lesson, well-crafted questions can help you exploit a huge learning opportunity, while poorly framed questions shoo away your learners!

It’s a fact that quizzes, questions, and assessments go a long way to increase memory retention and retrieval in learning.

That’s why the right questions can enhance learning and help beat the forgetting curve.

But what are those right questions? And how can we frame them? What type of questions will help us in the long run?

Well, here are 4 rules to guide you through it…

1. Ask Clear and Pointed Questions

Questions need to be precise and clear. Confusing and tricky and questions don’t work well.

When questions are not clear, your learner spends a lot of time in trying to decipher the question instead of trying to answer it. That leads to frustration and irritation!

So, what’s a good question? For starters, it’s got to be crisp and objective.

A good question needs to be simply and clearly phrased, with no ambiguity in the options. The correct option should be clearly correct while the other options should be clearly incorrect.

When does a question get confusing? When more than one answer is likely to be correct.  If learners feel there is a possibility of having more than one correct answer to the question, you’ve lost your learner.

To put it differently, the design of your question isn’t the focus. Its content is!

So, if your question is clear, then your answers too will be clear, resulting in effective reinforcement of learning.

2. Present Easy-to-Understand Questions Using Simple Vocabulary

Your questions must be easy-to-read and understand, with simple words. The objective of the question is not to show off your mastery of the language. Heavy sounding words and difficult language are a big no-no!

After all, your questions are supposed to test the understanding and knowledge of your learners, not their reading comprehension skills.

Let’s take two unique scenarios.

Scenario A: Use of technical terms

Let’s say, the lesson has a whole lot of technical terms related to the topic. Should you use technical, subject-specific technical jargon in the questions? Yes, by all means! Don’t try to replace or simplify the technical terms. Your learners need to remember them just the way they are.

For example, in an automobile manufacturing company, you are required to use technical names for different machines and parts of the automotive. There’s no point trying to invent new names that replace the subject-specific terminology. Use the terms ‘as-is’, both in the lesson and questions. Knowing the right technical term or name is critical for the learner.

Scenario B: Learners not native English speakers

When your learners’ mother tongue is NOT English, you must adjust and adapt. While designing microlearning lessons for this type of audiences, your choice of words should be easy-to-understand and culturally appropriate for them.

You must also pilot test your script and questions on clarity and ease-of-reading before going into production. Use a sample of your target audience to test your questions and script. This helps you identify and weed out anything that’s confusing and prone to misinterpretation.

Should you change your questions, test them again. A double-check is good!

I repeat, focus on the content of the question, NOT the structure!

3. Use Questions to Measure Depth of Learning

Asking questions is an integral part of memory-building in microlearning.

However, questions that only measure a learner’s memory and recall are not good enough! We need to go to higher level of questions that force the learner to think of the ‘why’ and ‘how’. These types of question help test the actual understanding and not the memorization skills of the learner. They evoke the learner’s higher order thinking and application skills.

Application-oriented questions help you judge your learners’ performance better. Such questions actually measure the depth of learning and help change and reinforce behavior in your audience.

4. Use Analysis Questions

An analysis question checks if your learner can analyse a scenario, and take sound decisions based on that analysis. Taking the right judgement call is the objective here, where a learner weighs the situation, takes a decision, makes a choice, and answers the question.

This kind of analysis questions work wonders in reinforcing application-oriented concepts, and help foster real skills based on real work scenarios.

To conclude, using the right questioning technique in your microlearning lesson helps improves your workforces’ performance at work. By using the right questions in your lessons, you can transform your target learners into heroes!

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