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The instructor who asks questions during the course of instruction is using the adult learning
concept of experience and self-direction. Questioning is an important element in the adult
learning environment. The way an instructor phrases a question will affect the trainee response.
Good questioning techniques are especially important when using case studies. The question an
instructor asks the trainees at the beginning of the case study usually sets the tone for the
discussion that follows. The questions-- What do you think? What should happen next?-- are
designed to create interest in the case and to get the trainee involved. From that time on, the
instructor should act as a facilitator, monitoring and directing the group discussion. This ensures
that the trainees remain focused. If the discussion starts to stray from the case being studied,
the instructor should ask one or two questions to get the trainees back on track. This is not to
say that the instructor forces the direction of the case study. Case study discussions should be
somewhat freewheeling so as to allow the trainees to search for the conclusions.
At the end of the case study, the instructor should ask questions that probe the understanding of
the underlying principle that is illustrated by the case study. Usually, this is started by inviting the
trainees to state their own conclusions and, based on the response they give, the instructor
should then ask questions that probe their depth of understanding. For example, the instructor
may say, " hat's a good response. How would you explain your answer to someone who feels
otherwise?" An instructor needs to be sensitive at this point. As stated previously, often there is
no one right answer, and the trainees may discover another unique and valid answer to the case
Regardless of the answer, an instructor should provide positive feedback. If a trainee has
missed the point of the case study, don't criticize. Motivate by reinforcing the portions of the
response that is correct (e.g., The first part of your answer is a partial solution of the problem.
Can you take that idea one step farther?). If the trainee still cannot answer, use the part of the
response that was correct and redirect the question to the rest of the group (e.g., S/he brought
up an interesting point. Can someone add something to this?). Positive feedback to responses
will signal the trainees that it is safe to present their thoughts, ideas, views, and solutions. This
" afe feeling"will encourage more trainee participation and increased trainee learning.

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