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Action based learning questions

Action Based Learning Question Types

One of the key to effective Action Learning is asking the right question. The ‘right questions’ are questions which when asked to the right people at the right time, given the type of information needed. To help people in an Action Learning process, primarily a questioning approach is used than offering advice because it is a basic assumption that each person has the capacity to find their own solutions.

Normally, the purpose of asking a question is to obtain information for our self, the questioner. However, in action learning the purpose is completely different. It is to help someone else to:

Closed question involves a technique which does not allow the respondents to develop or explore further or limits them with a strict lists of answer choices to choose from. It’s mostly monosyllabic or could be in the form of a short phrase .For example; some closed questions can only be answered by “Yes” or “No”:

Closed questions should not be interpreted as simple question which anyone can answer quickly with a ‘yes’ or ‘no’. It could be tougher to make one think before responding. For example; ‘when two quantities are dependent on each other, does an increase in one always leads to an increase in the other?’


Open questions open up the recipient’s thinking and give them the opportunity to expand or explore. This gives them the freedom to discover new ideas, consider different possibilities and to decide on the course of action that is right for them.

Open ended questions are not always long. It could be short as well as open. We will often find that shorter questions have a much greater impact than longer ones. Most of us find it quite difficult to ask really short questions because it can feel abrupt or even rude. So when questioning in action learning set, it is important to be aware of the voice tone and body language. The aim is to ask challenging questions in a way which helps the other person.


  • Think more deeply
  • Explore new options and perspectives
  • Use reflection in order to make better choices and decisions.
  • It can be used to give facts
  • Helps in keeping control of the conversation with the questioner
  • Opening up a conversation
  • Seeking yes to a big question
  • To give opinion and feelings.
  • Think and reflect
  • Gives control of the conversation to the respondent
  • Follow up from closed question
  • Make people realize the depth of their current situation
  • Helps to know more about an individual
  • Helps students organize their thoughts as they analyze causes and effects
  • Provides opportunities for students to use evaluative thinking skills
  • Requires students to listen to other ideas, synthesize information, and take a position on an issue
  • Well designed questions are essential as it helps learners to retrieve information from memory
  • It’s a direct self feedback for an individual


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