Inquiry Learning

LNS Inquiry

The inquiry approach puts students' questions at the centre of learning. 

LNS Inquiry Learning
In inquiry learning, the teacher provides a framework for investigation and uses appropriate instructional interventions to develop skills. Most of all, the teacher takes a learning stance, modeling strategies for success. While inquiry is driven by student interest, the teacher plays an essential role through modeling and direct teaching of skills such as contributing and extending ideas, formulating questions, accessing and using resources, organizing and synthesizing information, and effective communications strategies for sharing learning. 

The teacher provides ongoing descriptive feedback to students throughout the inquiry process. Most of all, the teacher moves from an information delivery stance to a co-learning stance, modeling critical inquiry and developing the meta-cognitive skills of learning how to learn. 

Through inquiry learning, students:
  • learn how to be independent and articulate thinkers,
  • are active participants in a collaborative learning environment,
  • follow their own interests to develop authentic and meaningful lines of inquiry,
  • develop skills of critical thinking, including developing questions and synthesizing ideas,
  • develop their own voice, learning how to communicate ideas effectively to a broader audience,
  • seek and act on formative feedback from teachers and peers, and
  • develop the deeper skills of thinking, questioning, critical analysis, communication and collaboration essential for success in our rapidly changing world.
Explore these short monographs to learn more about inquiry-based learning: 

Ontario Ministry of Education Capacity-Building Series: Inquiry -Based Learning 
Ontario Ministry of Education Capacity-Building Series:Getting Started with Student Inquiry 


Inquiry Learning and the Library

The foundation of learning in the library is the free exploration of ideas. Various models for inquiry have had currency in school library instruction for many years. The most current model in Ontario was framed in Together for Learning: School Libraries and the Emergence of the Learning Commons (2010), a publication of the Ontario School Library Association, with funding from the Ontario Ministry of Education. 

Together for Learning Guided Inquiry Model

Inquiry is at the very heart of the learning commons model. The guided inquiry model presented in Together for Learning synthesizes the power of learning driven by students' interests and questions and the need to scaffold that inquiry with appropriate learning supports, resources and assessment for learning. 

T4L Inquiry
From Together for Learning (p. 25): 

Creating a Culture of Inquiry

Inquiry is a complex process of constructing personal meaning, applying critical thinking skills, solving problems, creating understanding, and questioning. 

In its truest form, the inquiry process requires an individual to loo deeper and beyond the obvious, examine information for validity, point of view and bias, and construct meaning from all of these endeavours. 

Effective application of an inquiry model can transform novice learners into interdependent and independent learners, confident of their information power. 

To implement an inquiry model, teacher-librarians and teachers can establish a culture of "Guided Inquiry" which integrates inquiry skills and content knowledge. 

The Learning Commons is essential in helping students see the school as a dynamic learning place where they can continually connect new ideas and the curriculum to their own world. 


Together for Learning Online: Discovery & Guided Inquiry
Together for Learning Online: The Inquiry Process 












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