Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Why Inquiry-based Learning?

In their Teacher Tap site that facilitates Pro D and the sharing of resources for teachers and teacher-librarians, Drs. Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson (Indiana U; amazing educational consultants) define the similarities and differences amongst Project-, Problem-, and Inquiry-based Learning:

Project-based learning, problem-based learning, and inquiry-based learning all three closely relate to the information processing approach. They all fit well with technology-rich learning environments where the focus is not on the hardware and software, but on the learning experience. In each case, technology is used to facilitate learning. It may be a tool to organize ideas (such as Inspiration), search for current information (such as an online news source), or present ideas (such as PowerPoint presentations). However the focus of learning environment is the student's excitement about solving a problem or addressing an issue they find meaningful.

Are these terms interchangeable? No, they are not. Be sure to explore the many links provided by Lamb and Johnson that describe each approach to ensuring students become more info-savvy. For its focus on meaningful and relevant student-centred learning, TLs support the use of the term inquiry-based to describe the approach to reading and learning that is created and supported in school libraries.

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