“It’s not that I’m so smart, it’s just that I stay with problems longer.”
Inquiry-based learning is very much active learning that starts by a teacher / facilitator posing questions, problems or scenarios. Traditionally a teach would simply present or demonstrate proven facts. This pedagogy lend itself to STEM subjects and higher-level education and training, as it includes problem-based learning and is generally used in small scale investigations and projects. Inquiry-based pedagogy is strongly associated to the development and practice of thinking skills.
Lesson goals and objectives
In this lesson you will learn:
How to integrate inquiry based or (problem-based learning) investigations in assignment/projects
How to facilitate Inquiry-based learning to create active learning
How to implement digital technologies to support a process of controlled inquiry
As an illustration of STEM, the implementation of digital technologies into engineering/science education can help a great deal in the process of scientific inquiry. Well-structured inquiry-based learning should channel the minds of the learners in such a way that problems encourage them to reach for solutions, independently or collectively. Unlike traditional learning where the information is simply provided to learners, inquiry-based learning nurtures the critical and analytical minds of learners, digital technology allows learners to be independent in capturing necessary data and information.
<![endif]–>Is the inquiry-based approach suitable for practical subjects?
A: The inquiry-based approach is initiated by posing questions, problems or scenarios rather than simply teaching facts. Learners become ”inquirers” and will identify and study issues and questions to develop their knowledge or solutions, with the teacher playing a facilitation role. Inquiry-based learning includes problem-based learning (PBL) and is generally used in small scale investigations and projects. PBL or inquiry-based approaches are very suitable for practical subjects, especially with science, engineering.
Q: Is it ever okay to tell learners the answers to their questions?
A: Understanding requires knowledge, and not all the knowledge that is needed can be acquired through inquiry. Teachers will often need to decide how to respond to learners’ questions; this depends on the your goals as a teacher and the context of the discussion, especially the level of the lesson. For example, a learner may pose the question “What is the boiling point of water at atmospheric pressure?”. Given the nature of vocational learning, you could respond to that question by setting up a simple investigation to this find out; this could be done by digital means and show how boiling point varies with pressure. The important point is that investigations lead to deeper understanding and greater transfer of knowledge to the learner.
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