Inquiry-based teaching and learning: What’s in a name?

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Research and Development in Higher Education: Learning for an Unknown Future Vol. 26

July, 2003, 692 pages
Published by
Helen Mathews and Rod McKay
0 90 8557 55 8

This paper reports a research and development study on inquiry-based teaching and learning. Its genesis was in a faculty commitment to inquiry-based learning as a theme in undergraduate curriculum reform in the allied health sciences in the Faculty of Health Sciences at the University of Sydney. A working party charged with overseeing a project to produce resources to support staff in their on-going implementation of this theme discovered that members could not themselves agree on terms about concepts and the relationships among them in this area. Subsequent investigation of recent literature and a survey of university health sciences professional educators in Australia and New Zealand confirmed that this lack of agreement is a widespread phenomenon. In this paper we report on our findings and conclude that it is not the range of concept labels but rather the multi-dimensional nature of the concept of inquiry-based teaching and learning which can cause ambiguity and conflicting interpretations in academic dialogue and practice. This limits opportunities for identifying and disseminating good practice in inquiry-based teaching and learning.

Keywords: Inquiry-based teaching, problem-based learning, health sciences

Inquiry-based teaching and learning: What’s in a name?

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Mahony, M., Wozniak, H., Everingham, F., Reid, B. & Poulos, A.