Examining the Underlying Principles of Enquiry-Based Learning: Two Instances of where Learning Sessions Start and End

By George Allan and Norman Powell.

Published by The Learner Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

An established conception in Higher Education is that learning sessions start at the beginning of lectures and finish when the lecture ends. This is common among lecturers and students. However, this is not the case in Enquiry-Based Learning (EBL). At the University of Portsmouth, England a very successful method of EBL has been developed on the four cognitive processes of student motivation, enquiries, small-group dialectic and holistic learning. Resultant depths of student learning and understanding far exceed traditional didactic lecturing. Independently, the University of Manchester derived a number of forms of EBL from Problem-Based Learning, moving the focus of learning from the problem to the students’ enquiry to fit a variety of disciplinary and learning contexts. One EBL initiative prepared students for a second-year team project. The principles and practices of Enquiry-Based Learning are explained by exploring these two models. One principle is the shift from learning within lectures to the majority of learning occurring between sessions. The learning session is transformed from didactic teaching of facts, to facilitation of knowledge construction started in students’ enquiries. It is shown that a learning session starts before the end of each lecture with motivation to engage in the next phase of learning.

Keywords: Enquiry-Based Learning, Cognitive Processes, Learning Theory, Motivating Students, Responsibility for Learning

The International Journal of Learning, Volume 14, Issue 8, pp.157-166. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 608.729KB).

Dr. George Allan

Principal Lecturer, School of Computing, University of Portsmouth, Portsmouth, Hampshire, UK

Dr George Allan has been awarded The Teaching and Learning Fellowship 2006-2007 by the University of Portsmouth for his innovative approach to teaching and learning. He has developed and introduced a range of student-centred methods that have generated a lot of interest Nationally in the UK and Internationally, as evidenced by his publication record, his success in securing funding and invitations to give presentations and lead workshops on Student-Centred Learning and Enquiry-Based Learning. For many students he is a very popular lecturer who has a great effect on their learning styles and as a consequence in the way they have managed their lives after university. He is a lecturer who clearly has made a significant impact on our students and has helped a large number of them to success along their chosen career paths by his encouragement of their thinking processes.

Dr. Norman Powell

Research Associate, Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning, University of Manchester, Manchester, UK

Dr Norman Powell is the Research Associate for the Centre for Excellence in Enquiry-Based Learning, Manchester University. His role involves the development of pedagogical research in enquiry-based learning and supporting projects run by the centre. Norman has great experience conducting, supporting and supervising research in higher education. Norman was the Problem-Based Learning Officer (2005-2006) in the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, responsible for developing, implementing and evaluating problem-based learning to prepare students for teamwork projects. Norman was the Research Officer (2002-2005) in the Interactive Systems and Learning Environments group in the School of Computing at Leeds Metropolitan University, researching areas of learning technologies, programming and disabilities. He was also responsible for supporting and supervising research students within the group.


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