Asynchronous questions

Photo by NOHK on

The next part of asynchronous design I mentioned previously was about questions.

Questions are simple to fix aren’t they? Craft a FAQ document and away you go. This is where we get much learning design so very wrong. The worst examples of poor design mean we have FAQ documents that:

  • Go on for dozens of pages
  • Have no index, tagging or search
  • Are too general in the question and answer
  • Are too specific
  • Are used to dump content that doesn’t fit anywhere else

We end up building NAQ documents – Never Asked Questions.

The alternative is to make the trainer the all knowing oracle that centres the questions and responds in a binary way; one to one, usually by e-mail.

If people are learning asynchronously, they will have questions at different times, days, and on different elements you’ll not be able to predict. There isn’t a better opportunity to be more creative and collaborative in answering questions that users might have if you’re designing asynchronous support.

Some options might include:

  • You might want to establish a wiki – build a topic directory and create the space for people to add and edit their own content. You’re handing over the responsibility to the group while retaining the accountability.
  • Community Q&A – use Yammer, LinkedIn or a Teams space for people to share their questions and, if they’re able, their answers. If questions don’t get answered your next synchronous content writes itself (see the SME example here).
  • Comment spaces on blog posts – use blog distributed content to frame space for questions and encourage people to ask and answer each other.

Questions are the most valuable currency for learning; don’t devalue them by resorting to cheap and poor value answers.

One thought on “Asynchronous questions

  1. Something as simple as a OneNote file, or even a Word document, shared in OneDrive can do the job. You are obviously talking from a business perspective – but in the local club or society scenario, or even at the family level, simple works and is beautiful.


Please comment...

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.