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Community Coach
Community Coach

Inquiry-Based Learning

Hello everyone, 

I am getting ready to present some training on Inquiry-Based Learning to a group of teachers and administrators and am looking for a little bit of help.  The training I am planning will be presented in about 4-5 weeks online, so much more in-depth than a one-hour overview PD session.  I've worked with Inquiry-Based, Project-Based, and Problem-Based Learning in the past, but was hoping for some insight into the following:

1- Have you used Inquiry-Based Learning in your classes?  If so what has been your experience?  Are there things you wish you would have known before starting?  Was the outcomes you realized worth the effort it takes to change current practice? This could be from a teacher or administrator perspective.

2- Have you found any great resources (readings, activity ideas, support groups, etc.) that you could share?  There is a ton of information on the web, but if you have found something particularly helpful I would love to be able to pass this along.

There are some great resources in the Canvas Community for active learning, student-centered instruction, student engagement and differentiated learning.  I've enjoyed the following pages:

Let's talk student-centered learning in Canvas 


Differentiating Assignments (k-12) in Canvas: Helping All Learners Be Successful

While there is considerable overlaps in these type of topics, I am specifically focusing on Inquiry-Based, Project-Based, and Problem-Based learning for this training.  The group of individuals taking this course may or may not have access to Canvas in their own classrooms and likely will be teaching in a face-to-face or blended environment, so if you have suggestions related to Inquiry, Problem, or Project-Based Learning in Canvas I would love to hear about it, but I am hoping for more general information that would apply to those first getting started with these teaching techniques.

Thanks in advance!

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6 Replies
Learner II

This is a great idea. I love the fact that we can challenge the students with questions and allow them to look for the solutions. Also tagging a project (or problem) for them to solve is great. Scenario-based learning is one of my favorite ways of teaching.  

I agree completely  @jrboek .  I love showing students something that to them doesn't make sense and using this a starting point for meaningful work on their part to discover and test what could be happening.  We want students to become self-directed and effective problem-solvers, but in my opinion both of these are skills that we should be actively helping students to develop.  PBL, IBL, and scenario-based learning are great ways to scaffold the development of these skills.

I look forward to the training coming up and will keep everyone updated on what resources I find along the way!  Here is a site I just located today which has links to a great deal of information on IBL, Resources and Downloads to Facilitate Inquiry-Based Learning | Edutopia

Adventurer III

Prior to becoming a Canvas Admin, I taught HS and Community College chemistry. Later in my teaching I started using the POGIL to incorporate inquiry into my lessons. One of the common themes was to examine models/images (picture 5 boxes of molecular diagrams, each representing a snapshot over time), develop an understanding of what different components of a diagram were symbolizing, identify patterns and relationships, and develop explanations. Students worked collaboratively on these investigations and at various checkpoints throughout the lesson, groups would share out there responses to the rest of the course. If you pull up some POGIL activities, they make great use of guided questioning and scaffolding to assist students through the inquiry process. The POGIL lessons are generally pencil and paper, but I also designed similar lessons in that style lessons that incorporated online simulations, Excel analysis, discussion prompts, and hands-on labs.

Thanks for the suggestion and POGIL site  @audra_agnelly !  The implementation guide I read through was very helpful. I particularly like the focus on process skills in addition to content itself.  Did you find your students more engaged and motivated as the video introduction to POGIL suggests?

Adventurer III

I did find them more intellectually engaged ericwerth‌. There was a learning curve on everyone's part and I definitely learned that it was a process I had to ease them into. Jumping in and doing a whole POGIL lesson didn't go over well. In some cases, I used those types of activities as jumping off points for the first part of class, and I also developed more checking-in points with my students. I think it engaged some students that were not engaged by other approaches, but I think variety is key when looking to engage all students. It's a challenging approach focused on the thought process and analysis and some students resist that.

Community Coach
Community Coach

I wanted to take a moment and thank everyone who responded to this thread.  Your insight was very valuable!

I facilitated the Inquiry-based Learning course and it went well.  Participants were engaged and although it is just an introduction, everyone seemed to leave with ideas on how to utilize this technique during some point of their class.

Since it would have helped me, I posted the course as a template to the Canvas Commons.  It is named "Intro to Inquiry-based Learning" if anyone is interested.  The course includes learning material, assignments, a syllabus template, discussions, announcements, etc.  All of the course materials used in the class are freely available online. 

I hope those who would benefit from this course make improvements and post this to the Commons as well!  One thing I am planning for the next iteration of the course is rubrics for individual assignments.  This session, either the assignment was completed as indicated or returned for revision.

Thanks again and best wishes!