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Asking questions is all part of the learning process !!

What's with all the questions? This is something you probably heard often in your life. What do people know about how curious you are! Or how much you just want to learn why certain things happen for a reason. Its hard to even explain why for some reason you’re just so curious about everything around. If only you get the answers to all those troubling questions, how easy this life would be, right !!

You have all the right to ask and know about things that confuse you or things that you don’t quite easily understand. Come to think of it every single thing that is happening right now probably rose from one person's question which further led to another person’s answer. 

If you’re really determined to learn something, go ahead and let those questions roll. Ever heard of a famous quote that goes, “ask and you shall receive”, well that exactly is what this article is all about. Take a look at a few of the examples of how the whole process of asking questions arise and how it even helps in your college education.

Little kids asking questions expect explanations !!

Kids aren't simply curious for no reason. They’re curious because they’re looking for a proper reason behind why certain things happen. While it may seem annoying for a parent, its just kid’s way of getting to learn things better.

A new study has investigated as to why young children ask so many why-related questions. This also supports the fact that kids are motivated by an inborn desire for explanation. 

The study !!

The researchers carried out two studies of 2 to 5-year-olds and targeted on their “how” and “why” questions as well as their requests for a piece of explanatory information and then finally they looked at the children’s reactions to the answers they received from adults.  

Researchers specifically examined studies involving 2-4-year-old children’s regular conversations with family members. And another study which involved lab-based conversations of 42 preschoolers using toys, storybooks, and videos to persuade the 3-5-year-old children to ask questions. 

By observing how the children reacted to the answers they received to their questions, the researchers found out the following reasons -

  • Children seemed to be more satisfied when they received an explanatory answer compared to when they didn’t get one.
  • This was evident as the kids would either seem satisfied with the answer or they would resort to asking a non-follow up question.
  • However, when the kids got answers that weren't explanations, they seemed dissatisfied and were also more likely to repeat their original question or provide an alternative explanation. 

What do the researchers say?

According to researchers, 2 reasons summed up the curiosity children had when they came up with questions and were desperately looking for answers. 

    • By examining conversational exchanges, specifically, the children’s reactions to different types of information they got from adults as a response to their own questions confirmed that young children were motivated to actively look for explanations. 

    • Also, children used certain conversational strategies to receive that information. When children asked “why” questions, they weren’t simply trying to extend the conversation period but instead, they were looking for a final or logical answer that could easily help them understand what was really going on the whole time. 

Surprisingly it was also found that children by the age of 2 already began actively contributing to the process of learning about the world around them.

The study was carried by researchers at the University of Michigan.

Asking Student’s Questions during lectures helps them learn better !!

A Researcher along with his colleagues found that asking students questions from time to time can help kids in the learning process. The researcher named Jason Chan made it a habit to periodically stop during the lecture and ask the students questions about the subject being covered. 

This was done for 2 reasons -

  • To regain the students’ attention.
  • To enhance their ability to learn new information.

Researchers know that the retrieval process is beneficial to for new learning. The research also showed that frequency and difficulty of questions can reverse the effect and be detrimental to learning. And it isn’t just about asking the question, students must also respond simultaneously if the learning process is to come in full circle.

A cheaper way?

Also, this practice of questioning and answering could be a much cheaper and effective method other lecturers could implement in their classrooms. Lecturers do not even need to distribute iPads or any kind of gadget to each kid for them to learn something. All it takes is asking them a few questions and then allowing the students to answer them to test their knowledge.

Reasons behind why this method helps !!

Researchers evaluated journal articles form the period of the 1970s to 2016 which included more than 150 experiments for their analysis. They further evaluated four main theories for the meta-analysis to examine the positives and negatives of these theories from the existing research. The results showed the following -

  • The theory claimed that testing enhanced future learning by simplifying the link between information on the test and the information that is later studied leading to a spontaneous recall of the previously tested information when they learn related information. In simpler words during the process of testing, people can better connect new information with what they have learned previously leading them to combine both the old and the new information. 
  •  Learning new information requires an encoding process which is totally different from the process required to retrieve that information. Students are forced to switch between the two when responding to a question. Changing the modes of operation appears to refocus attention and then free the brain to take up something different. 

According to one researcher memory retrieval can optimize learning situations that require people to maintain attention for an extended period of time. This method can be incorporated into class lectures, employee training or even online webinars. 

The research was carried out by Jason Chan and his research colleagues from the Iowa State University along with Christian Meissner, a professor of Psychology at Iowa State and Sara Davis, a postdoctoral fellow at Skidmore College.