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Learning Interchange
National Writing Institute

Sunday, July 21, 2024
There are many different Inquiry Learning Techniques

Research Contracts - open
Case Studies - open or closed
Simulations - open
Role Plays -action
Workshops -open or closed action
Study Questions -open or closed

Back to TopResearch Contract

What is it?

Students are given a research problem or devise one. The problem is stated in the form of a research question or a hypothesis. Students agree to a research contract which specifies the required outcome and the process to achieve it.

A research contract may be negotiated with a group or individuals; it may be a literature based project or require practical investigations; it may extend over several lessons or be over in one lesson.

What to do

Clearly define the research question or help students to define the question. Take care over this phase.

Negotiate a process that: can be completed on time; for which resources are available; which will enable the question to be answered and for which the student(s) have the required skills

  • Set success criteria or negotiate them.
  • Check on progress. Timetable regular meetings
  • Help with problems faced by students
  • Evaluate the contract according to success criteria

Back to TopCase Study

What is it?

A comprehensive oral, written and/or filmed account of a real event or a series of related events which poses the problem to be solved.

The case may be teacher centered where the problem is solved through questions and answers, individual centered where a student singly analyzes and solves the problem or group centered where a group of students analyses and solves the problem.

What to do

Construct the case study to include these elements.

  • a detailed incident
  • a well sequenced set of events
  • statements of facts based on sound research
  • a problem to be addressed
  • the solution to the problem is possible within the constraints of the case
  • Clearly state the purposes of the case study
  • Set a time limit for the case study

In a teacher centered case study you are involved throughout. In a student centered case study, allow them to reach their own conclusions, but be available to clarify issues, provide feedback and arbitrate technical issues.

At the end of the case study review the process, outcomes and behaviors. ask: What kind of learning, skills, knowledge, attitudes on the part of the actors in the case study would have solved the problem? would have created a better outcome?

Back to TopSimulation

What is it?

A 'real life' situation is mirrored in a play with tightly scripted roles. Implications of the acted out situation are discussed.

The simulation may be in the form of tin basket exercise or practice under simulated conditions like pilot training, chairing meetings and simulated pressure situations.

What to do

  • Prepare the game carefully or use an already published game
  • Clearly state learning purposes for the simulation
  • Establish the game context and explain the rules and procedures. Fill the positions.
  • During the game clarify issues, provide feedback and arbitrate on technical disputes about rules.
  • At the end of the game, review process, outcomes and behaviors
  • Evaluate group interactions during the game.

Back to TopRole Play

What is it?

A 'real life' situation without set script is improvised and acted out. Implications of the acted out situation are discussed, often from the point of view of one of the role players.

The role play may be completely unstructured or the situation to be role played may be well developed. Nothing or quite a lot may be known about the roles to be played.

What to do.

  • Clearly state purposes for the role play
  • Clearly explain the situation to be role played
  • Clearly outline the roles to be played
  • You may let the role play run to its conclusion or interrupt to reverse roles or/and to clarify a situation, e.g.,
    -ask learner to describe the experience
    -ask what it feels like to have that experience
    -ask two players to exchange roles.

At its conclusion, discuss the role play in detail

Back to TopWorkshoping

What is it?

Students 'retreat' from the "classroom" to solve a problem(s) by sharing experiences or knowledge and conducting research and/or completing tasks.

Workshoped problems may be broad and open (developing a plan or course of action) or narrow and closed (fixing a malfunctioning engine)

What to do

  • Clearly state purposes for the workshop including a problem to be solved
  • Be sure students as a group have the experience, skills to solve the problem
  • Assemble materials to be used (references, recording material, examples)

Adapted work by Wellington Polytechnic http://webnz.com/wnp/onlinec/introcer/chunkl/inquiry/inqmap.htm

Copyright 1997-2003
Career Connection to Teaching with Technology
USDOE Technology Innovation Challenge Grant
Marshall Ransom, Project Manager
All rights reserved.

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