Inquiry-based learning in higher education: Principal forms, educational objectives, and disciplinary variations

Anindito Aditomo, Peter Goodyear, Ana-Maria Bliuc, Robert A Ellis

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    85 Citations (Scopus)


    Learning through inquiry is a widely advocated pedagogical approach. However, there is currently little systematic knowledge about the practice of inquiry-based learning (IBL) in higher education. This study examined descriptions of learning tasks that were put forward as examples of IBL by 224 university teachers from various disciplines in three Australian universities. Data analysis uncovered the principal forms of IBL, the features of each form, their characteristic educational objectives, and possible disciplinary variations. The findings show that underlying the diversity of language and tasks regarded as IBL there is a limited number of distinct task forms and a broad conception of inquiry that is shared by university teachers. The findings also indicate that IBL is practiced in a wide range of disciplines, in both undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs, in smaller and larger classes, and in universities which are more and less research intensive.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1239 - 1258
    Number of pages20
    JournalStudies in Higher Education
    Issue number9
    Publication statusPublished - 2013

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