Welcome to Inquiry Based Learning

There is nothing better I like than pontificating on a subject that has me hook, line and sinker, so sit back and wait for me to deliver relevant information about Inquiry Based Learning (IBL) to your neurons. On the other hand, in the spirit of IBL, you could actively approach these blogs by immersing, exploring, identifying, sharing and evaluating the multiple elements of discussion which will arise throughout these episodes. Inquiry based learning

Open mind - Let the inquiry begin! Courtesy of L.M. Rawlings trading as Ewe-Neek Designs ©

Open mind – Let the inquiry begin! Courtesy of L.M. Rawlings trading as Ewe-Neek Designs ©

isn’t new, and yet, in my consultative role for language, literacy and numeracy programs in adult education, it appears this methodology is like the unicorn, something which may be spoken about, but mythical. Constantly I receive queries regarding strategies to engage different student cohorts, but the moment IBL or Project Based Learning (PBL) is mentioned, the usual response is along the lines of, “it’s too hard” or “I can’t assess that way”. For this reason alone I would like to share the following quote from Albert Einstein and it’s my intention to take these words on board for the duration of my investigation in to IBL. “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them” (Albert Einstein, cited Norton, 2007).

At times it feels like problems are the weight of the world resting on your shoulders and other days it feels like they have become the weight of the universe. Albert Einstein was a prolific problem solver and yet, he only had

available to him the same tools as everyone else in his day – pen and paper. What did Einstein do that was different from his peers? What strategies did he employ to recognise, investigate and solve problems? In an interview with Jacques Hadamard (1945) Einstein suggested “…combinatory play seems to be the essential feature in productive thought“. His quote revolves around the need to play around with elements and establish relationships which exist between them in order to discover a solution. Thanks Herr Einstein that sounds like the path of least resistance to solving problems.

Let’s go play! Combinatory play! My aim is to introduce this concept into my blogs. Play with the definitions and models of Inquiry Based Learning and experience the research elements from the dizzying heights of the monkey bars. (Okay last time I was on monkey bars I did fall and break a wrist, but this did not stop me from playing.) On with the play and learning and I’ll leave the last word to Einstein – “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.”


Norton, J.D. (2007). How Did Einstein Think?. Retrieved 8 August, 2014 ,from http://www.pitt.edu/~jdnorton/Goodies/Einstein_think/

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