Examining the Efficacy of Inquiry-based Approaches to Education

  • David M Scott University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
  • Cameron Smith University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
  • Man-Wai Chu University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
  • Sharon Friesen University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
Keywords: authentic education, guided inquiry, discovery learning, 2016 PISA results

Abstract

Educational jurisdictions around the world have introduced curricular initiatives that emphasize the need for students to engage in inquiry-based education. This shift, has been met by significant public opposition, particularly in the Canadian context. Results from this study indicate that criticisms of inquiry-based approaches to education are largely directed at discovery learning, which has limited educational value. We note the significant affordances of guided forms of inquiry, such as problem-based learning, and approaches to inquiry aligned with the authentic education movement. Additionally, we highlight the specific instructional supports needed for processes of inquiry to promote elements, such as critical thinking skills and flexible problem solving abilities, necessary for success in a rapidly changing world.

Author Biographies

David M Scott, University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
Dr. David Scott is the Director of Student Experiences for the Werklund School of Education's Community-Based Pathway at the University of Calgary. His research explores how professionals in the field interpret and pedagogically respond to officially mandated curriculum shifts.
Cameron Smith, University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
Cameron W. Smith is a recent graduate of the master’s program and current support staff member of the University of Calgary. A previous French teacher, Cameron's research interests lie in the areas of French as a Second Language (FSL) education and inquiry-based learning.
Man-Wai Chu, University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education

Man-Wai Chu is currently an Assistant Professor in the Learning Sciences program at the Werklund School of Education. Her research focuses on using innovative assessments, such as interactive digital environments, to measure students’ performance-based skills in the classroom and on standardized tests.

 

Sharon Friesen, University of Calgary, Werklund School of Education
Dr. Sharon Friesen is the Vice Dean of the Werklund School of Education at the University of Calgary and the President of the Galileo Educational Network.  Her research interests include the ways in which K-12 educational structures, curriculum and learning need to be reinvented for a knowledge/learning society.     
Published
2018-05-02
Section
ARTICLES