Inquiry- Based Learning: The steps of IBL and its four types.

What is Inquiry Based Learning?

Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) is a pedagogical approach through which one asks or formulates testable questions and investigates them seeking the solution. It triggers students curiosity and develops their critical thinking skills. IBL emphasizes the students’ role in the learning process. The level of Inquiry Based Learning depends on the degree of the students’ autonomy in the learning process.

What are the steps of Inquiry Based Learning?

  • 1- Pose a question/define the problem.
  • 2- Conduct research/ Plan and carry out the investigation.
    3- Collect data.
  • 4- Analyze and interpret data/information.
  • 5- Share the results .
  • 6- Draw out a conclusion.

In spite of these steps, teachers can approach the process in variety of ways depending on the studied topic.

What are the different levels of Inquiry Based Learning?

1- Confirmation Inquiry

Teacher: poses a testable question and provides students with the procedure (design) that they have to go through to a pre-determined and known end result.

Students: Proceed with the investigations till they reach the end results and confirm them.

The confirmation inquiry reinforces prior knowledge.

2- Structured Inquiry ( directed inquiry)

Teacher: poses a testable question and provides students with the procedure (design).

Students: Students perform the investigation following the procedure prescribed by the teacher.

This is a cookbook inquiry. Students follow a recipe step by step till they draw a conclusion.

3- Guided Inquiry:

Teacher: Teacher only poses a testable question for students to investigate. Teacher scaffolds students’ investigations.

Students: design an experimental procedure to investigate the question.

4- Open Inquiry

Students: take the lead in proposing and investigating their own questions.

Teacher: Supports students throughout the learning process.

What type (s) of inquiry do you implement in your classroom? How can we you take it into a higher level?

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