Inquiry-based learning is a learning and teaching approach that emphasizes students’ questions, ideas and observations. Instructors actively encourage students to share their thoughts and to respectfully challenge, test and redefine ideas. With inquiry-based learning, instructors and students share responsibility for learning.
Inquiry-based learning refers to a transformation of the traditional classroom. Students are encouraged to take part in group work to learn from their peers and participate in forms of guided learning, which is delivered by an instructor.
Why Are These Characteristics Important?
Inquiry-based learning can support autonomy by encouraging self-directed thought, providing opportunities for students to make choices based on their interests, and reinforcing that there are many ways to approach a problem or task.
Inquiry-based learning makes use of technology and other means to allow students to navigate their own projects, which creates interest.
Allowing for student-to-student and student-teacher collaboration supports relatedness.
Competence is strongest when there is a balance between a student’s skill level and
the difficulty level of the task at hand—if the task is too difficult or not in line with
the student’s abilities, and competence is undermined.
Unique Learning Process
“Inquiry learning” is so named because student-based inquiry drives the learning process.
Rather than forcing students to memorize facts and material by rote, inquiry learning, “emphasizes active learning and development of analytical skills”. Instead of presenting the material for students to learn, teachers act as supporters and guides who encourage students to discover the material on their own.
Curriculum must be aligned with the desired knowledge outcomes and presented in the context of real-world problems or situations; problem solving should be emphasized; and students should have frequent opportunities for collaboration.
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