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5 Reasons Why You Need to Utilize the 5 Whys Analysis

Why should you approach your problem solving using the 5 Whys Analysis method?


The best courses out there are the ones that help students solve their problems. Enter the 5 Whys Analysis—a powerful problem-solving tool that seeks to determine the “root” of a problem by successively asking ‘Why?’. The 5 Whys Analysis consists of (of course) 5 steps:

  1. Identify the Problem. First, ask yourself: what problem(s) are you trying to solve through your online course?

  2. Identify the Cause Categories. Here’s where you’ll list the main cause(s) of this problem(s).

  3. Ask the First Why. Ask the question ‘why’ for each cause you listed above.

  4. Continue to Ask Why. Keep asking why (5 times doesn’t have to be the limit here—we can’t control your brain, anyways. So ask away!) Keep it up until you find what you believe to be the “root” cause of the problem.

  5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 as necessary. Then, narrow your causes and solutions to what appears to be the root cause and its key solution.

And voilà, there you have it, the (very basic) breakdown of a 5 Whys Analysis.


Want a detailed, interactive look at the 5 Whys Analysis and other helpful course planning tips and tricks? Our first set of courses in the new C&T Academy will give you just that!

Sign up early and take the courses for free.


Now that we’ve outlined the basic steps of a 5 Whys Analysis, let’s get into the 5 reasons a 5 Whys Analysis is essential to building your most effective online course yet.

1. It’s Simple

Anyone with the ability to ask themselves ‘Why?’ can conduct a 5 Whys Analysis (and I’m sure we’ve all had that question on our minds near constantly this past year, so congratulations, you’re already an expert).

That’s all it takes. Really. There’s no fancy equipment, or algorithm, or computer program required to make it work. And it’s still highly effective without any of the aforementioned.

Though anyone can conduct a 5 Whys Analysis on their own, and without any costly or hard-to-use tools, there are ways to make the process even more effective and efficient. A great example is Chalk & Tablet’s interactive fishbone diagram tool. It’s just one of the helpful planning tools you’ll find in the new C&T Academy (pre-register today if you want free access to the courses).

2. It Can Help Solve (Nearly) Any Problem

Although a 5 Whys Analysis is best used for simple to moderately difficult problems, it has endless applicable potential.

That is to say, there are no restrictions on the type of problem a 5 Whys Analysis can help solve.

No matter the problem you have, a 5 Whys Analysis can be employed to help. Noticing a decrease in revenue in your small business? Get some insight as to why with a 5 Whys Analysis. Want to know why your online course is regularly failing to increase enrollments? Consult a 5 Whys Analysis. It’s as simple (see number 1) as that.

3. It Will Help Prevent Future Problems

Since a 5 Whys Analysis is designed to help you reach the root of your problem, it’s more likely that the solution you devise thanks to the results of the analysis will be permanent.

Think of it this way. If you fix a problem without understanding exactly what’s causing it (the root), then any solution is just temporary. You can’t fully eliminate any problem you don’t fully understand. The 5 Whys Analysis helps you reach that full understanding. You can then utilize that knowledge to help stop that problem, or similar problems, from popping up in the future.

Problem solved.

4. It’ll Help You Market Your Product More Successfully

Let’s stick to what we know best as an example—online learning courses. So, you want to market your online learning course (of course).

If you want to market your course successfully, you’ll have to understand why your course is going to be important to potential students. And there are few things more important to these potential students than solving their problems.

You can determine how useful your course will be by predicting your desired audience’s problems, and coming up with solutions to them that your course will then deliver—by utilizing a 5 Whys Analysis. The 5 Whys Analysis doesn’t just have to be applied to your own problems—it can be used as a predictive tool to determine what other, outside problems might be.

We did a little 5 Whys Analysis of our own, and predicted a problem: you don’t know 100% how to conduct a 5 Whys Analysis. We’ve got you covered here.

5. It’ll Drive Continuous Improvement

Rarely does any operation have just one problem. A happy consequence of the 5 Whys Analysis is its ability to unveil the interconnectedness of everything.

One successfully completed 5 Whys Analysis may illuminate 5 other problems that could use their own 5 Whys treatment (trust me when I say this is a good thing). Adopting a consistent use of this analysis will prevent your processes from becoming stagnant, and allow you to address the big picture problems as well as the one-offs and specialty ones.

Continued use of the 5 Whys Analysis can only encourage introspection, critical thinking, and growth...which all lead to improvement.


So there they are, 5 reasons the 5 Whys Analysis is an essential tool for any business venture. If the above 5 reasons have convinced you of the importance of a 5 Whys Analysis and you’re interested in learning more on how to conduct one, pre-register for our C&T Academy.



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