Wicket Gate Bible College has moved to a “Inquiry Based Learning” technique for all of our courses. Inquiry Based Learning is about ensuring that, as far as is possible, students acquire their knowledge by means of a process of active learning. The learning is self-directed because it is driven by students’ own decisions about appropriate ways in which an gain understanding about the topic/assignment. The students carry out research and investigations into areas that they decide are essential for a proper response to the assignment.
“Inquiry-based learning” is one of many terms used to describe educational approaches that are driven more by a learner’s questions than by a teacher’s lessons. In contrast, inquiry-based learning projects are driven by students. Instructors act more as coaches, guides, and facilitators who help learners arrive at their “true” questions—the things they really care about. When students choose the questions, they are motivated to learn and they develop a sense of ownership about the project. However, don’t get the wrong idea that Inquiry Based Learning courses are not structured; they are differently structured. If anything, they require even more planning, preparation, and responsiveness from both the instructor and student.
The inquiry approach is more focused on using and learning content as a means to develop information-processing and problem-solving skills. The system is more student centered, with the teacher as a facilitator of learning. There is more emphasis on “how we come to know” and less on “what we know.” Students are more involved in the construction of knowledge through active involvement. The more interested and engaged students are by a subject or project, the easier it will be for them to construct in-depth knowledge of it. Learning becomes almost effortless when something fascinates students and reflects their interests and goals.
Inquiry based learning is mainly involving the learner and leading them to do the necesssary research to gain understanding. Inquiry here implies on the possessing skills and attitude of the student, which allows them to ask questions about the subject/assignment as they gain new information. Learning is most effective when students take charge of their own experiences and have freedom to direct their own research.
The exploratory nature of enquiry allows students to grapple with different ways of looking at ideas and issues, and to think creatively about problems that do not possess simple (or perhaps even any) answers. The flexibility of the learning is suited for the flexibility of the problems. Similarly, Inquiry Based Learning is highly appropriate for issues of Biblical doctrine whose complexity is such that in many cases scholars do not come to same understanding.
This learning approach encourages our students to develop the heart of Ezra.
Ezr 7:10 For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the law of the LORD, and to do it, and to teach in Israel statutes and judgments.