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6 Examples of Inquiry Based Learning

Most schools are warming up to the idea of inquiry based learning as a means to boost creativity and bolster independent thinking in their students.

Rather than just feeding information to students, inquiry based learning cultivates curiosity in students using questions as a basis to open up their minds and help them understand concepts in their own unique way.

This enhances the learning experience and fosters independent problem solving capabilities in the students.

How Can Teachers Employ Inquiry Based Learning?

Inquiry-based learning can be easier on teachers because it transfers some responsibility from teachers to students. This transfer of responsibility gives students more authority and increases their engagement. Here are 6 ways teachers can use Inquiry-based learning.

1. Structured Inquiry

This inquiry based learning method is geared towards achieving control over what you wish to teach your students but at the same time allowing them to freely discover the topics themselves.

The teacher poses a question pertinent to the subject and allows the students to find their own individual answers.

The question asked may not have a single answer and may change depending on the growing level of understanding that is gradually achieved through subsequent findings. The teacher is responsible for steering the topic in the direction he deems adequate.

2. Controlled Inquiry

Controlled inquiry, as opposed to guided inquiry, involves vital questions that are given to the students to make their own findings.

The reason this method is termed as ‘controlled’ is because the teacher limits the resources used by the students for fact finding.

The questions are structured to provide a proper framework through which the student will gain a concrete understanding of the subject mater.

The research materials are also carefully selected to provide sufficient and relevant information for the students.

3. Guided Inquiry

In guided inquiry based learning, questions relevant to the topic are provided by the teacher. The students are then free to approach the questions from any angle and make use of whatever materials they find useful in answering the questions.

They then demonstrate their understanding of the topic in whichever way they please after they have reached a valid conclusion. The students are assessed summatively.

4. Free Inquiry

This is the most flexible and adoptive form of inquiry based learning. The method involves joint interaction and cooperation between the students and the teacher in forming essential questions relating to the topic, finding the most suitable materials that will provide valid responses, and coming up with ways through which the students may effectively convey their understanding of the topic.

This method has been widely embraced as the most practical method of inquiry based learning and the most involving too.

5. Creativity Crafting

This is a method similar to the free inquiry based learning model except it does not involve the use of questions. The method allows students to organise information on their most exciting topics, gain a concrete understanding of the concepts behind them and present their findings in the way they see fit.

The students are required to use their own words to express what they have learnt and the impact of the topic in their livelihoods.The students progress is gauged through a summative assessment.

6. Project Sharing

The students can learn from each other through project sharing. This extends the teaching experience to the students who are able to share their findings, opinions and perspectives on various subjects through individual or group projects and presentations.

This technique is effective in improving self confidence and enhancing the students’ relations.