A simple overview of questioning was used to outline the two major layers of Questioning. This was a nice simple view. It outlines the Primary layer of questioning, these are the questions that define a learning context and drive learning. It also outlines the Secondary layer which are the information seeking questions which will help the learner to acquire the information they will need to construct the answer or solution to the Primary question.

It also shows the 2 thinking steps of identifying prior knowledge the learner brings to the learning process and identification of what information may be needed to support the learning. I think this view can be extended to show a wider and more complete picture. I would suggest that there are more types of questions involved than the simple diagram shows.

An effective learner and questioner is likely to be asking Procedural and Reflective questions.

Procedural questions: These are questions posed about the process of locating and validating the relevant information needed to build understanding and develop solutions.
These questions may look like:
“Where would I find an expert on this subject?”
“What subject heading would this information come under in the library?”
“What other sources may validate or refute this information?”
“Is it likely or possible for there to be another viewpoint?”

Reflective questions: These questions relate to comprehending the information, linking it to prior knowledge, analysing it in the light of other information, synthesising it into new understanding, and applying it to create solutions for the primary question/task.
These questions may look like:
“Do I really know this or am I making an assumption?”
“Have I interpreted this correctly?”
“How does this link to …?”
“What are the implications of this?”


A learner who is asking Procedural and Reflective questions as they work to build knowledge and understanding is more likely to be an effective learner than one who fails to pose these types of question. By adding these to the simple overview we are gaining a more complete picture of the complexity of questioning within the learning process. However there are still two more types of question that need to be added to complete this extended view of questioning. These are Evaluative Questions, which come in two types:

Evaluative Questions (Summative):
Summative evaluative questions will occur at the end of the learning process and though they are reflective in nature their purpose is to evaluate the learning, thinking and process skills used during the learning journey. A learner who asks and answers these questions effectively strengthens themselves for future and further learning. This learner not only does the learning related to the current aspect or context, but is also using each learning experience to learn bout and strengthen their own learning.
Summative evaluative questions may look like:
“Was my questioning effective?”
“How could I improve my questioning?”
“Where did I have difficulty in this learning experience?”
“What could I have done better?”

Evaluative Questions (Formative):
Formative evaluative questions are those that have come out of the current learning experience and are now the spark or initiate for further learning. They are in fact a new generation of Primary questions. An effective learner is one for whom each piece of learning becomes not a closed door, but rather an open door for new learning. It is a bit difficult to give general samples of what these questions may look like. So instead I will provide an example.
My son and I have been going through a process of learning with a chosen sport of big game fishing. We started with the Primary question “How do we catch Yellowfin tuna?”. Over a period of time this generated a large number of Secondary layer (information seeking) questions like:
“What is a good lure for Yellowfin tuna in the Bay Of Plenty?”
“How do we establish the best speed for trolling lures for our boat?”
“What boat handling techniques will help an angler fighting a Yellowfin tuna?”
As we have been involved in his learning process over the last 5 years another question has come out of the process, “How do we catch Striped and Blue Marlin?”. This question is a formative one, it has emerged from current learning and is another whole strand of learning in its own right. This new question is now a primary layer question which will drive a whole new sequence of learning.



While a simple overview of questioning is adequate to support learners in becoming more effective with their information seeking questions it is important for us to realise that there is a wider view to questioning and if we truly want to assist our students to be effective questioners across the whole learning process.

To support learners we need to facilitate their questioning across the range of 6 major aspects of questioning.

Procedural questions: Questions that target the process of locating and validating the relevant information needed to build understanding and develop solutions.

Reflective questions: Questions that support the comprehension, linking, analysing and synthesising information into gaining understanding and creating solutions.

Evaluative Questions (Summative): Questions that evaluate the learning, thinking and process skills with the intent of improving future learning.

Evaluative Questions (Formative): Questions that initiate further learning,