Question: Why are 2005 pennies worth more than 1983 pennies?
Answer: Because 2,005 pennies are worth $20.05 whereas 1,983 pennies are worth only $19.83
I am sure you’re sitting at your desk, laughing very heartily at my very corny trick question.
And even though this harmless, trick question might elicit a chuckle or two, or perhaps even an eye roll, using trick questions in your technical training is nothing to laugh about.
Most of us have some horror stories from bad training we have received. From the mind-numbingly boring
"read and click" eLearning training on how to use a fire extinguisher, to the also mind-numbingly boring instructor who reads slides to the class for 8 hours.
Some of those bad experiences might also include learning from an instructor who seemed to use trick questions as part of their teaching method. And now, as a current instructor, there may be some temptation to use trick questions on your students as well.
Using a trick question or trying to otherwise confuse your students in some way is not an effective way to challenge their learning and understanding.
Let’s remember: confusion is not the same as challenge or rigor.
To build rigor into your training, you must develop training with the objectives and needs of the learner in mind. Before you decide to use trick questioning in your training, be sure to ask yourself the following questions:
What is my goal?
What is your personal goal for attempting to t
rip up or confuse your students?
Remember: even though it is invigorating to have the opportunity to be an instructor, your primary responsibility is to the people you are teaching.
What will the student learn from this?
It is great to challenge students, but their motivation may be negatively affected if they feel confused moreso than challenged.
How will this affect how I am perceived as an instructor?
While it should not be your primary goal to simply make friends with your students, remember that perception is very important. How the students perceive you as both an instructor and a professional can affect the level of effort that they put towards learning the new material.