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Abstract

This article examines evidence of academic skill development and transfer related to the taking of a first year Inquiry-based seminar course designed to enhance a range of self directed learning skills and their transferability to other learning contexts. The study compares a sample of academic work from two groups of Social Sciences students, one comprised of students who had taken the Inquiry course and the other who had not. The student work consists of 1) papers submitted by participants who were asked for the best paper they had written at university and 2) descriptive narratives provided by participants of the steps they took in researching and writing that paper. Qualitative and quantitative analysis by multiple raters using a blinded protocol was conducted. The results show both meaningfully higher paper and skill assessments for students who had taken the inquiry seminar and evidence of transfer of skills and strategy to other learning contexts, supporting the hypothesis that transfer of core skills occurs under particular learning conditions that can be fostered through course design and enhanced through specific pedagogical objectives.

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