Author: Deb Bullock | Published on 1 February 2023


Question: How can you ask questions to assess learning? 

Answer: Ask Why? 


What happens when you ask your learners: “Do you understand?” They often answer “Yes”, even if they don’t understand. 

To find out what your learners understand, and make them think, ask them Why?

For example, you might ask your learners: “Is a whale a fish?” (= No). However, this closed question doesn’t make the learners think, and it doesn’t tell you how much they understand. 

Instead, ask an open question. For example: “A whale isn’t a fish. Why?” (= e.g. fish lay eggs; whales don’t). Learners have to think about the question, and explain the answer. It tells you how much they really understand. 



Closed question: any question for which a researcher provides research participants with options from which to choose a response.

Open question: a question that cannot be answered with a "yes" or "no" response, or with a static response.