From the research: What do we know about the best ways children learn?
They learn best when...
1. they are interested. This promotes engagement which then promotes responsibility for learning. 2. they partner up with others. Children, like adults, share their enthusiasm and the things they collaborate with others, which enriches everyone's learning. It promotes problem-solving and other social skills. 3. they are active, even involving community support [subject experts] to ask questions and add to learning. 4. they have what we call "voice and choice" and are active participants in every aspect of the learning...from planning to assessment. 5. their learning is authentic. This means they deal with real world issues, not abstract ideas in textbooks. When they answer their own inquiries instead of the questions others have had in textbooks, it is more meaningful. This also means they use technologies at school that are available at home, too. That's authentic and real...no disconnect exists between home and school. ____________________________________________________________________ One heavily quoted research piece to support the inquiry learning states:
In conclusion, there is growing evidence from large-scale experimental and quasi-experimental studies demonstrating that inquiry-based instruction results in significant learning gains in comparison to traditional instruction and that disadvantaged students benefit most from inquiry-based instructional approaches. In many or most cases, exemplars of IL instruction incorporate strong forms of guidance that proponents of guided instruction will find attractive.
Hmelo-Silver, Cindy E., Ravit Golan Duncan, and Clark A. Chinn. "Scaffolding and Achievement in Problem-Based and Inquiry Learning: A Response to Kirschner, Sweller, and Clark (2006)." Educational Psychologist 42.2 (2007): 99-107. Web.