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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

The use of questions and answers forms a significant part of the training and learning process within a training course. Apart from the obvious situations in which participants will ask questions of the facilitator and vice versa, there are other ways in which the use of questions and answers can enhance a training course. Questionnaires can provide useful information for use by the group and contribute to a self -assessment exercise for individual members. They can be developed either by the facilitator or by the participants themselves. Questionnaire surveys can be carried out by participants, either with people external to the group or with each other.

Method

Questionnaires can be devised to suit many purposes. Examples include:

• A checklist of training completed by participants in the past and required in the future;

• A structured analysis of a recent event or incident;

• A method of developing an understanding of prevailing attitudes within a group;

• A self-assessment list of personal skills and ratings on a subject.

Questionnaires require preparation in advance of their use. By planning ahead and developing a carefully constructed questionnaire, it is likely that the answers to the questions will provide more useful information. The following checklist of factors to consider when devising a questionnaire may be helpful.

• Clear purpose – why develop this questionnaire? How will the results be used?

• Logical layout – start simply with straightforward questions. Questions on the same subject should be grouped together. Avoid repetition. End with a question that allows the respondent to add any other comments that s/he considers have not been covered elsewhere.

• Language – keep it simple and straightforward. Keep sentences short. Avoid jargon.

• Length – questionnaires that are too long put people off. If they are too short, they may not provide enough information. A length of two sides (one sheet), or at most four sides, is reasonable. Work out your most important questions first and use these. If there is space left, you can consider adding additional questions.

Examples of where questions and answers might be used effectively

• During and after presentations.

• In group work.

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