Tag Archives: inquiry

Self-Regulated Learning Skills: A Prerequisite for Inquiry Learning

“Faces of UVic Research: Allyson Hadwin” by FacesOfUVicResearch, University of Victoria is in the Public Domain

Lately, I have been reflecting on my practice, and on the development of inquiry-based learning (IBL) in my elementary classroom.  This post is a continuation of this theme and asks the question of whether, true, inquiry-based learning can occur in classrooms where too many students lack the necessary self-regulated learning skills to be independent learners.

 

When I talk about self-regulation skills (SRL), I refer to the Canadian Consortium for Self-Regulated Learning research-based perspectives on learning:

  • Learning is a reflective and social process that covers flexible thinking, motivation, and emotion, not just behaviour.
  • Learners are active and present in their learning, and can work towards self-determined goals.
  • Learning is a complex procedure and needs to be supported by all stakeholders including, students, peers, parents, community, and school.
  • Self-regulated learning skills are a set of procedures that are essential to developing lifelong learning in and out of school.

 

Inquiry-based learning has many definitions, and its core components exist in similar student-centred pedagogies such as discovery learning, constructivist learning, and problem-based learning.  I like Maaß & Artigue’s, (2013) definition of IBL, which refers to a student-centred way of teaching where students create questions, explore problems, and develop solutions:

 

“Inquiry is a multifaceted activity that involves making observations; posing questions; examining books and other sources of information to see what is already known; planning investigations; reviewing what is already known in light of experimental evidence; using tools to gather, analyze, and interpret data; proposing answers, explanations and predictions; and communicating the results.”

 

There have been several classroom occurrences that have led me to question whether, true, inquiry learning is suitable for all learners.

Students who say, “I don’t know what to do!” after spending weeks discussing what inquiry is and is not, developing plans, and deepening their understanding of questioning, lack the necessary skills to be successful in this environment.

Students who cannot find suitable resources on a chosen topic, document their learning, work towards an end goal that may be several weeks away, or synthesize learning in the form of a presentation, are at a distinct disadvantage when it comes to inquiry learning.

Within any given class, there must exist a ratio, a magic number, which indicates whether or not true inquiry learning can take place in a classroom.  If the number of students who lack the self-regulated learning skills of organization, motivation, questioning, recording, and observing are too great, then learning shifts from student-centred to teacher-centred.

My goal next school year is to target the development of student’s self-regulated learning skills before engaging in inquiry-based learning.  This will ensure an increased number of students will have the necessary skills to be successful in this area.

 

References:

Canadian Consortium for Self-Regulated Learning.  What is SRL?  Retrieved March 14th, 2015 from  http://srlcanada.ca/what-is-srl/


Maaß, K., & Artigue, M. (2013). Implementation of inquiry-based learning in day-to-day teaching: A synthesis. ZDM – International Jo

Game-Based Learning In An Inquiry Framework

gbl im kindergarten

“gbl im kindergarten” by elisabeth, 24.04.2009 – Projekt “Digital Game Based Learning” is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

For my literature review, I have been struggling to find a focus within the overarching topic of inquiry learning.  One area of inquiry learning I keep coming back to is game-based learning (GBL) or simulation-based learning (SBL).  These two areas of inquiry learning form the basis of my reflection this week.
If the goal of inquiry learning is to foster student discovery, then gaming provides unlimited opportunities for learners to make discoveries and experiment.  Mark Hawkes, BC Ministry of Education, has been super helpful with providing contacts and information supporting the use of GBL and SBL in classrooms.  According to the 2011 Horizon Report:

Game-based learning has grown in recent years as research continues to demonstrate its effectiveness for learning. Games for education span the range from single-player or small-group card and board games all the way to massively multiplayer online games and alternate reality games. Those at the first end of the spectrum are easy to integrate into the curriculum, and have long been an option in many schools; but the greatest potential of games for learning lies in their ability to foster collaboration and engage students deeply in the process of learning. Once educational gaming providers can match the volume and quality of their consumer-driven counterparts, games will garner more attention.

–NMC Horizon Report: 2011 K-12 Edition

Video’s supporting the use of GBL/SBL in schools:


Katie Salen on Learning with Games by Edutopia

 

Jane McGonigal Speaks On The Skills Students Are Learning From Games by Knowledge Works

A Case for GBL and SBL Use In Classrooms:

  1. Whenever I get together with other educators at workshops and professional development opportunities, I constantly hear the rhetoric that students don’t take risks and are afraid to fail.  I think games and simulations create safe environments for students to take risks, fail, and learn from their experiences in ways that do not exist in many classrooms.
  2. GBL and SBL allow users to experience essential 21st century skills and social practices such as collaboration, problem-solving, team-building, and different ways of being and doing.
  3. Good game designers scaffold and differentiate their tasks and objectives well, and this mirrors the techniques many educators are trying to replicate in the classroom.

 

As I continue to develop my understanding of GBL/SBL please feel free to share your experiences on the topic.

References:

Johnson, L., Smith, R., Willis, H., Levine, A., & Haywood, K. (2011). The 2011 Horizon Report. Media (Vol. 2010, p. 36). doi:10.1002/chem.201001078