What is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Where to start?   I suggest this video which explains the teaching methodology Inquiry-Based Learning.

It was created for the Inspiring Science Education Project in Europe as part of a series of videos to promote the use of Inquiry-Based Learning and published on May 26, 2014 by Scott Crombie.

Definition from Neil Stephenson in Introduction to Inquiry Based Learning

“Inquiry is not merely ‘having students do projects’ but rather strives to nurture deep, discipline-based ways of thinking and doing with students. As an entry point, inquiry involves learners:

  • tackling real-world questions, issues and controversies
  • developing questioning, research and commuication skills
  • solving problems or creating solutions
  • collaborating within and beyond the classroom
  • developing deep understanding of content knowledge
  • participating in the public creation and improvement of ideas and knowledge”

A good Canadian source is the Galileo Educational Network based in Alberta  Here is their definition of inquiry:


“Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world. As such, it is a stance that pervades all aspects of life and is essential to the way in which knowledge is created. Inquiry is based on the belief that understanding is constructed in the process of people working and conversing together as they pose and solve the problems, make discoveries and rigorously testing the discoveries that arise in the course of shared activity.”      Accessed on January 19, 2015.

For a detailed description of inquiry in action you could view this video:  An introduction to discipline-based inquiry learning
resented by Amy Park of the Galileo Educational Network and published on January 24, 2014 (14.41 min)

The image below is a poster that shows the eight principles of the Galileo discipline-based inquiry model.  There is also a rubric developed for assessment. 

Discipline based inquiry

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