Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a widely used and highly recommended teaching strategy within the science curricula and across education (Aldahmash et al., 2016; Dunne et al., 2013; Wang et al., 2014). Mäeots et al. (2011) define IBL as a method of identifying and examining relationships, with students creating and developing hypotheses and experimentations by designing and applying experiment methodologies and analytical observations (p. 83).
This learning approach allows students to conduct research, experiment and explore the subject as much as possible. It lets them incorporate theories and hypotheses and apply content to understand and assimilate solutions to an identified problem or concept (Savery, 2006). In contrast, traditional learning (TL) is a strategy developed and centred around the instructor. Information is typically taught by the instructor or from resources, including textbooks and lectures (Khalaf, 2018). Through the use of this strategy, the monitoring of student achievement progress is an essential aspect of education and curriculum. Traditional learning focuses on the students' ability to answer content knowledge questions through standardized testing and a multitude of assessment options and mainly lacks the capability for students to make stronger, deeper, and personal connections to scientific material (Khalaf, 2018).
What are the types of inquiry-based learning?
In this learning approach, students are posed with a question, its answer, and the method for finding the answer. They use their critical thinking and investigation skills in learning how the method works.
An open inquiry method allows students to pose original questions and investigate through their methods, presenting their results to expand their knowledge base through discussion.
The structured Inquiry approach gives students an open question and investigation method. Then, they use this method to create an evidence-backed conclusion.
The guided inquiry-based learning lets students gather in groups to design investigation methods and reinforce problem-solving skills to conclude an open question.
What are the benefits of Inquiry-based learning?
Makes Brain Ready for Learning
Running a short inquiry activity at the beginning of the class help students retain information throughout the day. Generating curiosity through an activity makes them inquire about something at the start of the class and prepares their brain for learning through intellectual stimulation. You may begin by playing a video or sharing a primary source document. Later, give students an open-ended question which they can answer individually or as a group. This will help start the class in a manner that elicits curiosity and stimulates intelligence.
Inquiry-based learning enables students to make connections about their learning. Their curiosity helps students engage in learner and gain a deeper understanding of topics and content, instead primarily memorizing and recalling rules, ideas or formulas.
This process helps most students understand why the rule or formula works, how the idea was developed, and when they can apply the rule, formula or idea.
This inquiry-based learning allows students to explore topics of interest to them and to reinforce autonomy in learning. They engage and learn in a style that caters for their needs. Additionally, using open questions, solving them through original strategies empowers students to take ownership of their learning. Students should be able to build an understanding of a concept through their methods and thinking styles. It places students at the center of their learning experience, the same as experiential learning. They are not restricted to follow a process they cannot grasp, possibly arriving at a seemingly unjustified conclusion.
This active learning method encourages students to immerse themselves in the learning process. They make connections, ask questions, and learn more effectively as they reach their conclusions through exploring different topics.
Inquiry-based learning infuses fun and engagement by letting students explore topics independently, creating their learning process.
In addition, students develop transferable skills that strengthen initiative and autonomy. They also learn to ask questions, discuss issues, collaborate on tasks, cooperate and reach conclusions. This development is summed up by self-guided research and analysis based on the activities they perform. Also, when students can exercise their autonomy over their learning process, they become more engaged, helping to develop a passion for exploration and learning at a higher level.
Cultivates Necessary Skills
Bringing an inquiry-based learning approach helps students build their comprehension, critical thinking and communication skills. The continuous use of their cognitive skills helps not only in class but in day-to-day life.