Using a Self-Determination Theory Approach to Understand Student Perceptions of Inquiry-Based Learning
Keywords:inquiry-based learning, Self-Determination Theory (SDT), student perceptions, laboratory activities
Inquiry-based laboratory activities, as a part of science curricula, have been advocated to increase students’ learning outcomes and improve students’ learning experiences, but students sometimes struggle with open-inquiry activities. This study aims to investigate students’ perceptions of inquiry-based learning in a set of laboratory activities, specifically from a psychological (i.e., Self-Determination Theory) perspective. Students’ ratings of the level of inquiry in these activities indicate that students’ perceptions of inquiry align with the instructor-intended amount of inquiry in each exercise. Students’ written responses, explaining their ratings, indicate that students’ perceptions of the amount of inquiry in a given lab exercise relate to their feeling of freedom (or autonomy), competence, and relatedness (or support), during the inquiry-based learning activities. The results imply that instructors implementing inquiry-based learning activities should consider student motivation, and Self-Determination Theory can be a useful diagnostic tool during teaching development.
Abdulwahed, Mahmoud, and Zoltan K. Nagy. 2009. "Applying Kolb's Experiential Learning Cycle for Laboratory Education." Journal of Engineering Education 98, no. 3: 283–94.
Aelterman, Nathalie, Maarten Vansteenkiste, Leen Haerens, Bart Soenens, Johnny RJ Fontaine, and Johnmarshall Reeve. 2019. "Toward an Integrative and Fine-Grained Insight in Motivating and Demotivating Teaching Styles: The Merits Of A Circumplex Approach." Journal of Educational Psychology 111, no. 3: 497.
Ballen, Cissy J., Jessamina E. Blum, Sara Brownell, Sadie Hebert, James Hewlett, Joanna R. Klein, Erik A. McDonald, Denise L. Monti, Stephen C. Nold, Krista E. Slemmons, Paula A. G. Soneral, and Sehoya Cotner. 2017. "A Call to Develop Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) for Nonmajors Courses." CBE—Life Sciences Education, 16 no. 2: mr2, 1–7.
Ballen, Cissy J., Seth K. Thompson, Jessamina E. Blum, Nicholas P. Newstrom, and Sehoya Cotner. 2018. "Discovery and Broad Relevance May Be Insignificant Components of Course-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences (CUREs) for Non-Biology Majors." Journal of Microbiology and Biology Education 19, no. 2, 1–9.
Bell, Randy L., Lara Smetana, and Ian Binns. 2005. "Simplifying Inquiry Instruction." The Science Teacher 72, no. 7: 30–33.
Berg, C. Anders R., V. Christina B. Bergendahl, Bruno Lundberg, and Lena Tibell. 2003. "Benefiting From an Open-Ended Experiment? A Comparison of Attitudes to, and Outcomes of, an Expository Versus an Open-Inquiry Version of the Same Experiment." International Journal of Science Education 25, no. 3: 351–72.
Bovill, Catherine, Alison Cook‐Sather, and Peter Felten. 2011. "Students as Co-Creators of Teaching Approaches, Course Design, and Curricula: Implications for Academic Developers." International Journal for Academic Development 16, no. 2: 133–45.
Buck, Laura B., Stacey Lowery Bretz, and Marcy H. Towns. 2008. "Characterizing the Level of Inquiry in the Undergraduate Laboratory." Journal of College Science Teaching 38, no. 1: 52–58.
Cheon, Sung Hyeon, Johnmarshall Reeve, and Maarten Vansteenkiste. 2020. "When Teachers Learn How to Provide Classroom Structure in an Autonomy-Supportive Way: Benefits to Teachers and Their Students." Teaching and Teacher Education 90: 103004.
Cornish, Rosie. 2007. “Cluster Analysis.” Mathematics Learning Support Centre. Retrieved from http://www.statstutor.ac.uk/resources/uploaded/clusteranalysis.pdf.
Cotner, Sehoya, and Gordon G. Gallup Jr. 2011. "Introductory Biology Labs… They Just Aren’t Sexy Enough!" Bioscience Education 18, no. 1: 1–11.
Deci, Edward L., and Richard M. Ryan. 2011. "The "What" and "Why" of Goal Pursuits: Human Needs and the Self-Determination of Behavior." Psychological Inquiry 11, no. 4: 227–68.
Deci, Edward L., Robert J. Vallerand, Luc G. Pelletier, and Richard M. Ryan. 1991. "Motivation and Education: The Self-Determination Perspective." Educational Psychologist 26, no. 34: 325–46.
Deters, Kelly Morgan. 2005. "Student Opinions Regarding Inquiry-Based Labs." Journal of Chemical Education 82, no. 8: 1178.
Felten, Peter. 2013. "Principles of Good Practice in SoTL." Teaching & Learning Inquiry 1, no. 1: 121–25.
Ferri, Bonni H., Aldo A. Ferri, David M. Majerich, and Amanda G. Madden. 2016. "Effects of In-Class Hands-On Laboratories in a Large Enrollment, Multiple Section Blended Linear Circuits Course." Advances in Engineering Education 5, no. 3: 1-27.
Furtak, Erin Marie, Tina Seidel, Heidi Iverson, and Derek C. Briggs. 2012. "Experimental and Quasi-Experimental Studies of Inquiry-Based Science Teaching: A Meta-Analysis." Review of Educational Research 82, no. 3: 300–329.
Glynn, Shawn M., Peggy Brickman, Norris Armstrong, and Gita Taasoobshirazi. 2011. "Science Motivation Questionnaire II: Validation with Science Majors and Nonscience Majors." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 48, no. 10: 1159–76.
Gormally, Cara, Peggy Brickman, Brittan Hallar, and Norris Armstrong. 2009. "Effects of Inquiry-Based Learning on Students' Science Literacy Skills and Confidence." International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning 3, no. 2: n2.
Hanauer, David I., Justin Nicholes, Fang-Yu Liao, Aaron Beasley, and Heather Henter. 2018. "Short-Term Research Experience (SRE) in the Traditional Lab: Qualitative and Quantitative Data on Outcomes." CBE—Life Sciences Education 17, no. 4: ar64.
Jang, Hyungshim, Johnmarshall Reeve, and Edward L. Deci. 2010. "Engaging Students in Learning Activities: It is Not Autonomy Support or Structure but Autonomy Support and Structure." Journal of Educational Psychology 102, no. 3: 588.
Jang, Hyungshim, Johnmarshall Reeve, and Marc Halusic. 2016. "A New Autonomy-Supportive Way of Teaching That Increases Conceptual Learning: Teaching in Students' Preferred Ways." The Journal of Experimental Education 84, no. 4: 686–701.
Kirkpatrick, Catherine, Anita Schuchardt, Daniel Baltz, and Sehoya Cotner. 2019. "Computer-Based and Bench-Based Undergraduate Research Experiences Produce Similar Attitudinal Outcomes." CBE—Life Sciences Education 18, no. 1: ar10, 1–11.
Kolb, Alice Y., and David A. Kolb. 2005. "Learning Styles and Learning Spaces: Enhancing Experiential Learning in Higher Education." Academy of Management Learning and Education 4, no. 2: 193–212.
Kurdziel, Josepha P., Jessica A. Turner, Julie A. Luft, and Gillian H. Roehrig. 2003. "Graduate Teaching Assistants and Inquiry-Based Instruction: Implications for Graduate Teaching Assistant Training." Journal of Chemical Education 80, no. 10: 1206.
McHugh, Mary L. 2012. "Interrater Reliability: The Kappa Statistic." Biochemia Medica 22, no. 3: 276–82.
Miles, Matthew B., Michael A. Huberman, and Johnny Saldaña. 2020. Qualitative Data Analysis: A Methods Sourcebook. Sage publications.
National Research Council (NRC). 1996. National Science Education Standards. National Academies Press.
Niemiec, Christopher P., and Richard M. Ryan. 2009. "Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness in the Classroom: Applying Self-Determination Theory to Educational Practice." Theory and Research in Education 7, no. 2: 133–44.
Oppong-Nuako, Juliet, Bruce M. Shore, Katie S. Saunders-Stewart, and Petra D. T. Gyles. 2015. "Using Brief Teacher Interviews to Assess The Extent of Inquiry in Classrooms." Journal of Advanced Academics 26, no. 3: 197–226.
Parappilly, Maria, B, Salim Siddiqui, Marjan G. Zadnik, Joe Shapter, and Lisa Schmidt. 2013. "An Inquiry-Based Approach to Laboratory Experiences: Investigating Students' Ways of Active Learning." International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 21, no. 5: 42–53.
Riga, Fran, Mark Winterbottom, Harris, E., and Newby, L. 2017. “Inquiry-Based Science Education.” In B. Taber, K. S., Akpan (Ed.), Science Education: An International Course Companion. Rotterdam, The Netherlands: Sense Publishers. 247–61.
Rodrigo-Peiris, Thushani, Lin Xiang, and Vincent M. Cassone. 2018. "A Low-Intensity, Hybrid Design Between a “Traditional” and a “Course-Based” Research Experience Yields Positive Outcomes for Science Undergraduate Freshmen and Shows Potential for Large-Scale Application." CBE—Life Sciences Education 17, no. 4: ar53, 1–18.
Rosen, Spencer, Sabrine Griffith, Eli Byrnes, Steven Michael Santana, Laura Palucki Blake, and Matthew Spencer. 2019. "Relating Level of Inquiry in Laboratory Instructions to Student Learning Outcomes." In Proc. ASEE Annual Conference and Exposition, Conference Proceedings. 1–14.
Ryan, Richard M., and Edward L. Deci. 2017. Self-Determination Theory: Basic Psychological Needs in Motivation, Development, and Wellness. Guilford Publications.
Suzuki, Ryota, and Hidetoshi Shimodaira. 2006. "Pvclust: An R Package for Assessing the Uncertainty in Hierarchical Clustering." Bioinformatics 22, no. 12: 1540–42.
Wallace, Carolyn S., Mai Yin Tsoi, Jamie Calkin, and Marshall Darley. 2003. "Learning From Inquiry-Based Laboratories in Nonmajor Biology: An Interpretive Study of the Relationships Among Inquiry Experience, Epistemologies, and Conceptual Growth." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 40, no. 10: 986–1024.
Warfa, Abdi-Rizak M. 2016. "Mixed-Methods Design in Biology Education Research: Approach and Uses." CBE—Life Sciences Education 15, no. 4: rm5, 1–11.
Wu, Hsin‐Kai, and Joseph S. Krajcik. 2006. "Inscriptional Practices in Two Inquiry‐Based Classrooms: A Case Study of Seventh Graders' Use of Data Tables and Graphs." Journal of Research in Science Teaching 43: 63–95.
How to Cite
Copyright (c) 2021 FangFang Zhao, Gillian Roehrig, Lorelei Patrick, Levesque-Bristol Chantal, Sehoya Cotner
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.