Become an Innovative Online Nurse Educator

Strategies to Develop Stronger Discussion Questions

Jul 14, 2020

Discussion Board activities tend to be the most frequently used assessment strategies used in the online classroom. Unfortunately many discussion board activities tend to be dry and boring. But the good news is, you can avoid this by using a very simple strategy called the PEAR Approach, to develop stronger discussion questions.

The PEAR approach is a strategy that can be used to develop stronger, more reflective discussion questions that help students to make deeper connects with the course content. Another benefit is that the PEAR Approach encourages critical thinking skills and more in-depth answers, which in turn, will lead to more quality responses from student peers. So let's cut to the chase and explain exactly what the PEAR Approach is. PEAR is an acronym to help you remember to develop discussion questions that are:

  • Personal – having a personal connection
  • Experiential – related to their experience (feelings)
  • Active – they must do something
  • Reflective – and think about how it impacted them

You can use the PEAR Approach to evaluate the strength of your discussion questions by determining if it falls into any of the categories listed above. If it does not, determine how you might rephrase or revise it to fit into one of these categories. Now these categories are not mutually exclusive and you may have a discussion assignment that fall into more than one category, but that is ok. That just reinforces the the quality of the assignment.

Share in The Online Educator Facebook Group the Discussion Board activity you come up with by clicking the link HERE. Let us know which category it best fits into.

Also, as a treat don’t forget to GRAB YOUR FREE GUIDE to the 3 Secrets to Teaching Online Successfully.

I am a nurse and a college educator. I help other motivated educators leverage the tools needed to teach online successfully so that they can create lively, engaging, quality courses from the comfort of their homes!
© 2020~Natasha Nurse-Clarke~ All rights reserved. Originally published at This content can not be used for commercial purposes, including selling or licensing printed or digital versions of this content. For non-commercial purposes, please credit Natasha Nurse-Clarke~

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