The Power of Questions in Solving Problem – Workshop Tip #230

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“Application: Try this idea. Ask workers or learners in your implementation of Workflow Learning. “Identify a problem at work. What series of questions would you ask to arrive at the point where you fully understand the issues?”

In Workflow Learning (WFL), one begins to recognize work issues and concerns right in the midst of work, with no time or space to get help from conventional training and consulting opportunities for expert opinions and solutions.  The worker is challenged on the spot to learn in situations of how to solve problems. How is this done in the WFL process?

Allen Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John offered ideas in their article, The Surprising Power of Questions. Just by thinking through the issues with the “power of questions,” the worker can learn to discover more vital and in-depth information.

Honing their skills in asking different types of questions such as introductory questions, mirror questions, follow-up questions, open-ended questions, and closed or direct questions could be a can opener to generating information that is relevant to the issues at hand.  

Asking the right questions is best done at the first step of the WFL model where one needs to diagnose or assess where the issue is coming from and what contributes to it.

Yes, there is “power” in using questions to learn in the workflow and solve problems with no need for external expertise to come into the picture. How would you organize your thoughts in asking divergent and convergent questions about the issue at hand?

Allen Wood Brooks and Leslie K. John, The Surprising Power of Questions

Ray Jimenez, PhD., Workflow Learning book

Ray Jimenez, PhD., Did It Work? Conversations Matter in Workflow Learning

Ray Jimenez, PhD., Expertise: Why The Odds Are Stacked Against Novices

Video: Workflow Learning Idea: Why Is Question the Root of All Learning?

Ray Jimenez, PhD
Vignettes Learning
“Helping Learners Learn Their Way”