DIY Learn Module of the Month: Question Ladder

At Nesta we believe that everybody has the capacity to innovate, and last year we launched our first online learning programme in innovation - DIY Learn. Created with the Open University, DIY Learn is free to use and contains 10 bitesize modules based on the most popular innovation tools and methods from Nesta’s DIY Toolkit.

We originally launched the DIY Toolkit with the Rockefeller Foundation in 2014 to support people working in development to invent, adopt or adapt ideas that can deliver better results. DIY Learn provides the next level of learning by guiding you through each tool step-by-step so that you can start using them to improve your everyday work.

We’re showcasing each module from DIY Learn here on the Nesta website month by month, and our seventh Module of the Month is the Question Ladder.

Question Ladder

How do you know the right questions to ask to really get at the information you need? It might sound simple, but often reaching the right answer means thinking more about the questions you’re asking. ‘Laddering’ is an interview technique that helps you to hone in on a certain topic by asking a series of questions about different aspects related to it.

The Question Ladder is a quick and easy tool that enables you to ask ‘good’ questions - ones that are worth answering, and that provide a framework for gathering useful answers for action. It makes it much easier to think about the best way to get to the core of the issue at hand, and to build chains of questions that will allow you to gradually reach the heart of more complex issues.

The DIY Learn module walks you through the Question Ladder and offers guidance so that you can make the most of using it. By taking the module, you will be able to:

  • describe when a Question Ladder is a useful and appropriate tool
  • understand the layout of the Question Ladder template and how it works
  • select the most relevant questions to challenge the core issues of a problem or opportunity
  • explain the strengths and weaknesses of a Question Ladder

Watch the Question Ladder module introductory video below, or go straight to the module.

We estimate this module will take between two and three hours to complete for an independent learner with a good level of English. It is divided into smaller study sessions, each of which follows a standard pattern to make it easier for you to plan your time. As you work through the module there are some in-text activities to help test your understanding of the material, and it finished with a series of self-assessment questions.

Feedback and further resources

We hope that you enjoy the module, and we’re always delighted to hear from our learners. Please send feedback on the module to [email protected].  We are particularly keen to hear what you have done with the skills and tools you have learned.

Whilst the module has been designed to be studied independently this is not the only way it can be used. The DIY Learn Trainers Handbook also provides guidance on using all the modules as a basis for group training in a classroom setting.

Take the module>>

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Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Isobel Roberts

Content and Communications Manager, Innovation Skills

Isobel worked in the Innovation Skills team as Content and Communications Manager, helping to build Nesta's learning and development offering.

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