Inquiry-Based Learning, also known as Problem-based learning or Project-based learning (PBL), is an educational approach that focuses on increasing students’ problem-solving abilities through a student-centered method of instruction. This approach emphasizes the importance of providing opportunities for students to apply their skills in real-world contexts, rather than solely focusing on mastering basic skills like math and language. In IBL, a problem or question is presented and students use their prior knowledge and skills to find solutions. Subjects such as math, English, social studies, science, information and communication technology, and fine arts are explored simultaneously or in combination in real-life contexts. Additionally, teachers and students align project objectives with the Specific Learner Expectations set by Alberta Education.
Projects are also an integral part of this approach and can range in duration from days to weeks to months. Because students are engaged in projects that are relevant to their lives, their level of concentration and application increases, leading to improved learning outcomes. Additionally, authentic assessment, which evaluates students throughout the learning process, is used to identify strengths and weaknesses before final exams. This approach also emphasizes the importance of emotion in learning, and how personal meaning and engagement are key to memory.
PBL’s approach to learning is supported by brain research and leads to increased attendance and academic achievement, as well as a positive interest in school and learning.