Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.
What is Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning?
A Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) classroom or lab consists of any number of students working in small groups on specially designed guided inquiry materials. These materials supply students with data or information followed by leading questions designed to guide them toward formulation of their own valid conclusions - essentially a recapitulation of the scientific method. The instructor serves as facilitator, observing and periodically addressing individual and classroom-wide needs.
POGIL is a research based learning environment where students are actively engaged in mastering course content and in developing essential skills by working in self-managed teams on guided inquiry activities. It is both a classroom and laboratory technique that seeks to simultaneously teach content and key process skills such as the ability to think analytically and work effectively as part of a collaborative team.
Why Use Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning?POGIL is based on research indicating that
- Teaching by telling does not work for most students,
- Students who are part of an interactive community are more likely to be successful
- Knowledge is personal; students enjoy themselves more and develop greater ownership over the material when they are given an opportunity to construct their own understanding.
When George Bailey, the character played by James Stewart in the film It's a Wonderful Life spoke of about his ambitions to go to college, he said that he would "...go to see what they know..." before going on to "...build bridges a mile long and skyscrapers a mile high." He was naive, perhaps, but independent and confident in his ability to meet the challenges of an engineering career regardless of what he learned in college. George had learned how to learn on his own by necessity. Students who can acquire that kind of confidence and true ability to learn on their own, just might build skyscrapers a mile high. Process-oriented, guided inquiry learning fosters acquiring those abilities.
(Project Kaleidoscope, 2007)
Just as the good parents who make themselves un-neccesary for their grown children, good teachers make themselves un-necessary for their students. To gain this independence, students must be challenged to master the processes of learning on their own and in groups, to use resources effectively and to objectively assess their progress and success.
Ideally, students learn not only how to acquire existing knowledge, but also to create it for themselves by asking the right questions and finding the right answers and using these to develop a model or concept. POGIL focuses on developing self-directed, independent learners.
(Project Kaleidoscope, 2007)
How to Use Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry LearningPOGIL can be implemented wholesale or as an occasional variant on regular class meetings. Either way, the effective use of POGIL involves several elements:
- The material: effective guided inquiry exercise
- Successful learning team: students are assigned specific roles that rotate periodically.
- A new role for the instructor: the instructor acts as the facilitator of learning.
- Books, articles and websites related to Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning
- J. J. Farrell, R. S. Moog, J. N. Spencer, "A Guided Inquiry Chemistry Course." J. Chem. Educ., 1999, 76, 570-574.