Proposal Title

The impact of inquiry based teaching on student learning outcomes

Track

Research Proposal / Learning Theories and Pedagogy

Proposal Abstract

Inquiry-based learning has been described as a pedagogical strategy that can positively impact student learning and engagement. Given the increase in the application of basic cognitive principles to teaching and learning, we decided to apply inquiry-based learning using a variety of empirically validated teaching strategies to determine if it impacted student-learning outcomes in measurable ways. We developed an inquiry-based first-year seminar and evaluated the impact on student learning. We found that students benefited from inquiry-based teaching, but that we needed to adjust our goals and strategies of our course to meet the needs of our students more effectively.

Proposal Description

Student learning is the most important goal of university teaching. Different approaches to teaching have been developed and designed to better meet the needs of both the instructor and the student. Many have fallen short, either because students aren’t learning from those strategies, or because faculty cannot teach in that format. To that end, the science of learning has begun to examine how to most effectively teaching within the context of knowing what we know about how learning works. The literature on the science of learning works to translate what we know works from the laboratory to the classroom. We need to take what we know from the laboratory, determine the key variables, and adapt them to our classrooms and the context of our university.

Our university revised our general education curriculum and decided that we wanted students to learn valuable skills from general education, including critical thinking, reasoning, etc. To achieve this, we decided that teaching students the value of asking questions, and to understand that learning is “messy” would help develop skills to cope with in the increasingly complex world. Through our general education curriculum we wanted our students to see diversity of opinions and perspectives, and to develop the skills to be good problem solvers. Thus, we developed an inquiry based first-year seminar, as the research suggests that inquiry helps students develop a variety of skills.

To assess, we measured student-mastery of the stated learning outcomes and found that although we had some great success, we needed to more strongly encourage student engagement, active learning, and an appreciation for diversity of perspective. In this workshop, we will discuss the seminar, the outcomes, and future directions of our course, as well as provide suggestions for others in applying the science of learning to their courses and curriculum.

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Mar 30th, 9:00 AM Mar 30th, 9:45 AM

The impact of inquiry based teaching on student learning outcomes

Inquiry-based learning has been described as a pedagogical strategy that can positively impact student learning and engagement. Given the increase in the application of basic cognitive principles to teaching and learning, we decided to apply inquiry-based learning using a variety of empirically validated teaching strategies to determine if it impacted student-learning outcomes in measurable ways. We developed an inquiry-based first-year seminar and evaluated the impact on student learning. We found that students benefited from inquiry-based teaching, but that we needed to adjust our goals and strategies of our course to meet the needs of our students more effectively.