What are the benefits of enquiry-based learning?


If you’re looking for innovative ways to capture attention in your classroom, enquiry-based learning could be another weapon in your teaching arsenal.

The method recognises the role of pupil engagement, and puts the emphasis on the pupil to be in control of their learning. In theory, it enables them to learn at their own pace and engage with materials that they find interesting.

Here we explore the benefits of this approach and look into how it can help pupils to maximise their potential.

What is enquiry-based learning?

The simple idea behind enquiry-based learning is that pupils can explore topics themselves, as it enables them to enhance their understanding by utilising a range of resources. Rather than using presentations and workbooks, you can leave pupils to research and share ideas. Essentially, pupils learn by doing. Class discussion can then be used to help embed what they have learnt.

Why opt for enquiry-based learning?

The approach gives pupils an opportunity to take their learning into their own hands and use methods which work best for them. Various research has shown that it enables youngsters to enhance their comprehension of topics and boosts their critical thinking skills. In addition, it can also help the development of communication skills.

Nurture specific interests and talents

By giving pupils some freedom over what they want to learn, inquiry-based learning often enables them to show off specific talents and their love for certain topics. The majority of youngsters will pick topics they feel passionately about, and they’ll often find it easy to talk about them in front of their peers. This can help pupils to feel involved in class and should boost engagement.

Learning with some limits

Enquiry-based learning can also be implemented slightly differently, so that pupils are provided with the topic or some guidance, before being left to learn as they please. This allows teachers to align work with the curriculum, but also leaves pupils with a feeling of freedom to shape their learning.

Enhance analytical and research skills

The nature of enquiry-based learning puts research at the forefront of any activity – a useful life skill for use in education and the work place beyond. It encourages pupils to ask the right questions and to look at all evidence in front of them when looking into topics. They can use evidence-based reasoning during class discussion and can deepen their understanding of the subject matter.

Use the approach in any classroom environment

Enquiry-based learning can be implemented in arrange of different learning environments, as pupils can do research individually or in small groups. Content can be adapted to the needs of the class too, which the change in approach may help those who have struggled to learn using more traditional methods.

Ideally, the approach will form the basis of a balanced curriculum, whereby pupils experience a range of learning methods. This enables them to use approaches which best suit their needs when it comes to revision and exams.

Find your next teaching job with Tradewind Education

Are you looking to take the next step forward in your teaching career? We pride ourselves on going the extra mile to find the very best match for our teachers, teaching assistants and schools. After all, we believe that for every teacher, there's a perfect role out there. And with offices spread across the UK, our local education recruiters will help you find a teaching role near you.

Browse our current secondary teaching jobs, and primary teaching roles, or see what teaching assistant vacancies match your preferences.