Inquiry- Based Learning in Practice

We offer a course Inquiry-based learning in Practice. In this course you learn how to change tasks in such a way that learning improves. We use a strategywhich is based on several theories:

  1. Higher order thinking skills
  2. Bloom’s Taxonomy as defined by Bloom & Krathwohl (2002)
  3. 21st Century Skills as described by OECD (2009, 2012)
  4. Two projects by Dr. Sugata Mitra: A whole in the wall, and The Da Vinci project
  5. Lecture by Prof. Eric Mazur: Turning Lectures into Learning.

The strategy is a modification of RTTI, a widely used strategy and in-service-training for teachers in Dutch schools. We have  implemented the taxonomy of learning activities linked to tasks in at the educational publishing company in The Netherlands. Here we used the strategy in the design and publication of text books for mathematics as well as language and history.

Important is that we adher to the notion that the ultimate goals in education are:

(1) students acquire knowledge and skills that are long lasting. This is called Retention;

(2) students are able to apply knowledge and skills in new situations, in combination with other skills, across disciplines, and in daily life. This is called Transfer.

Retention and Transfer pyramids

Retention and Transfer pyramids

The strategy uses four levels of knowledge and four different levels of learning activities. The mastering of these levels of knowledge depends on the learning activities teachers offer. The strategy works towards teachers that are able to make or change tasks so that students learn at all levels of knowledge and work with all levels of learning activities. This way the students get the opportunity to reach the ultimate goals: rentention, of knowledge and transfer (deep learning)

Levels of knowledge:

  • Factual knowledge
  • Procedural knowledge
  • Conceptual knowledge
  • Higher knowledge

Learning activities:

  • Remember
  • Use
  • Apply
  • Integrate

We have made some tasks at the level of Conceptual and Higher knowledge combined with the learning activities Apply and Integrate. Examples of these tasks can be found in the Brainpower activities and in the HOT Math series (=inquiry-based learning activities).

Below you find the schema used to identify the nature of tasks within the curriculum.

Schema for identification, analysis and inventory of tasks


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