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What is Inquiry Based Learning

Page history last edited by Philippa Levy 16 years, 1 month ago

Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a term used to describe approaches to learning that are based on a process of self-directed inquiry or research.  Students conduct small or large-scale inquiries that enable them to engage actively and creatively with the questions and problems of their discipline, guided by academic and learning support/development staff.  IBL approaches include case-study and problem-based learning (PBL) methods as well as research projects of different kinds including field-work investigations and experiential learning projects. It is a key characteristic of much IBL that inquiry tasks facilitate exploration and investigation of issues or scenarios that are open-ended enough for different responses and solutions to be possible.


In IBL, all learning and teaching resources and activities are designed to support the inquiry process.  With theoretical roots in constructivist and socio-cultural models of learning, IBL is advocated as an approach that engages students explicitly with the processes of knowledge creation and co-creation.  It is regarded as a key pedagogy in strengthening the links between teaching and research in HE.  Students often work collaboratively and use digital technologies to interact with peers and tutors, access information, and produce and share outputs.  IBL may provide the design principle for whole courses or even programmes.  Alternatively, IBL activities can be incorporated into specific learning events in more traditional curricula. 


For more information, go to the website of the Centre for Inquiry-based Learning in the Arts and Social Sciences (CILASS) and the websites of other CETLS in the LTEA: CEAL, CEEBL, CETL-AURS, Reinvention Centre, SCEPTrE.

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