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Open question

Use open questions to encourage a full, meaningful answer using the learner’s own knowledge, attitudes and feelings.

Written Olga Kuzmenko

Open questions require learners to type their answer into a comment box and don’t provide specific pre-set answer options. Any given answer is automatically scored as correct, while an empty answer is graded as incorrect. Responses are reported in the Gradebook and must be checked manually by the course author.

They are great for assessing your learners’ independent thinking skills, as they are much better at probing understanding than closed questions. Open questions require the ability to reason, create, analyze, synthesize and/or evaluate the material.

You can use an open question as a follow-up to collect a lengthier answer after asking a closed-ended question.

When a learner has finished a topic, ask them an open question that is related to what they just learned to encourage them to reflect and connect.

Also, allowing your learners to give feedback in their own words can help you uncover opportunities that you may have otherwise overlooked.

How to create an open question in Easygenerator

  • Select the open question from the left-hand panel and add it to a section.
  • Add a question title and instruction.
  • Create feedback for correct (any given response) and incorrect (no/empty response) answers.
  • Optional: add a voice-over.

Tips for writing good open questions

  • The question instruction should be meaningful and state a specific problem that focuses on the learning objective.
  • Make sure the question is clear and unambiguous.
  • Open questions usually begin with the following words: why, how, what, describe, explain, tell me about…, or what do you think about…
  • Specify boundaries. Open questions may be too vague sometimes. The right wording is very important when asking open questions, especially if you are looking for a certain type of answer. Include some parameters to make your question more specific.
  • Avoid asking a question which can be answered with a simple yes or no.