Today’s Learning Quotient Question: June 17, 2012
Q. Asking deep explanatory questions (like “Why?” “Why not?” “How?” and “What if?”) leads to better learning than asking shallow questions (like “Who?” “What?” “When?” and “Where?”).
A. True. Once we’ve acquired some basic knowledge about a subject, asking ourselves (or being asked by others) these types of deep questions helps strengthen and extend our understanding. The idea is to focus not on the surface aspects of the material, but on underlying causal and explanatory principles. This is key to achieving mastery.
Further reading: Pressley, M. et al. (1992). Encouraging mindful use of
prior knowledge: Attempting to construct explanatory answers facilitates learning. Educational Psychologist, 27, 91-110. Read the abstract here.
About your Learning Quotient: Research on the science of learning demonstrates that it’s not some innate intelligence that determines how well you learn, but how much you know about how learning works. Instead of IQ, think LQ: your Learning Quotient. Each day on the Brilliant Blog I’ll be offering a question meant to test your LQ—and an answer meant to raise it. A full-fledged Learning Quotient Quiz is in the works, so stay tuned!