Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Enquiry Based Learning

Enquiry-based learning, Problem-based learning, project work, etc, all start out from the basic premise that the more actively engaged a student is in the learning process the more that they are likely to gain in terms of understanding and conceptual change. Of course, whilst such approaches are often readily accepted by many as potentially very powerful, one of the commonest objections raised is the practicality of organising such methods in large classes of students. The brave staff in our English Dept in Galway have this year embarked on a pilot project which implements at least some of the principles of enquiry based learning in their large enrolment (~450 students) first year class. A great deal of effort has gone into the organisation and coordination as well as the development of guided learning materials to support the students in this journey. Earlier in the year I spoke with Patrick Lonnergan and Sinead Mooney, Lecturers in the department, about this work and you can hear the interview here.

If you'd like to read about other examples of PBL, EBL and their ilk, feel free to order the book I edited with some colleagues late last year, or given that we issued it under creative commons licensing, download the individual chapters from here.

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