Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Impact of Inquiry-Based Learning

Academic journal article Journal of Developmental Education

Impact of Inquiry-Based Learning

Article excerpt

Many studies of inquiry-based learning (IBL) have been based on a single set of outcomes and completed at a single institution. An article in The Teaching Professor reported on a recent study exploring larger IBL impacts, "in college mathematics on undergraduates' subsequent grades and course selection at two institutions" (Kogan & Laursen, 2014, p. 183).

Outcome measures in the study included both students' subsequent grades and course selection because "their choices to pursue (or not) subsequent courses in a discipline-offer broad and arguably objective measures for evaluation the effects of an educational intervention" (Kogan & Laursen, 2014, p. 184). The study investigated an IBL strategy in mathematics which engaged students in smallgroup work, student presentation of problems, or full-class discussion approximately 60% of the time. In the non-IBL sections more than 85% of class time was spent on instructor lectures.

Students' grades in the IBL sections of three target courses studied were as good as or better than those in the non-IBL sections. Noteably, "In two cases, IBL students' grades were statistically significantly better" (Kogan 8c Laursen, 2014, p. 190). The impact of IBL on subsequent grades and course choices was deemed "modest," but longitudinal data showed parallel attainment to non-IBL students. The finding that IBL students performed as well as non-IBL peers in subsequent courses addresses a concern among instructors that student success may be compromised if material is omitted to accommodate the slower pace of IBL courses. …

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