Learning questions – what makes them special? That’s a question I am asking myself as I work on a learning and sharing toolkit for WWF Nepal. Last year, together with Shailendra Thakali an independent conservation specialist, I helped WWF Nepal develop a learning framework to guide and focus their priorities for learning from implementing its portfolio of programme activities. Fundamental to the learning framework are learning questions. Shailendra and I have been asked to develop some practical tools to help the busy staff of WWF Nepal devise their learning questions and integrate the pursuit of answers into the day-to-day work of implementing their projects and programmes.
The task is proving to be a great opportunity to draw together ideas I have been interested in for some years. I have been re-visiting the Barefoot Guide, material on The Art of Powerful Questions, and Asking Effective Questions.
As Vogt and his colleagues make clear in The Art of Powerful Questions, “The usefulness of the knowledge we acquire and the effectiveness of the actions we take depend on the quality of the questions we ask.” This sets the bar inspiringly high for our toolkit!