How Do I Move to an Inquiry-Based Form of Teaching/Learning?

Inquiry-based learning seems to be a buzz word in the curriculum overhaul movement of today. I think that most teachers can explain the overall idea of inquiry-based as a method which replaces memorization with a learning experience that engages students to learn by questioning. The question is how many educators can use their present knowledge-base to transfer their existing coursework into a bone fide inquiry-based learning experience?  I am not certain that I can do it.

My Instructional Technology university courses don’t usually include much paper and pencil testing.  Most of them involve hands-on learning with projects that apply to the students’ professional lives and pursuits. This hopefully makes their work more relevant and they are definitely problem-based, but I am not certain that I am posing the problems in a way that would be considered Inquiry-based.

I am tired of hearing and talking platitudes about changing our educational system from a memorization-based learning experience to a student-engaging learning environment which challenges students to answer problems and convert information and data into useful knowledge. Is there a system for this conversion? Is there a checklist to better identify an inquiry-based system? Is there a premise for the questioning system that needs to be used to optimize this system?

It is difficult for a university professor to acknowledge his ignorance in an area of study where he is supposed to be proficient, but I don’t think that I understand the formalized world of inquiry-based/project-based/challenge-based learning.  I know that it is more than doing projects. There is a level of cognitive development that needs to be nurtured to optimize the learning experience for students AND teachers.

I may have a better understanding of Inquiry-based learning than I am admitting here, but I just wanted you to know that I am beginning a pursuit to better understand and implement inquiry-based learning in my courses.

What do you know about inquiry-based/project-based/challenge-based learning?  What resources can you suggest? Are you using this format? What are you doing?

Thanks for your thoughts and support.



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