Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning

This material was originally developed by the PKAL
as part of its collaboration with the SERC Pedagogic Service.

Initial Publication Date: November 17, 2008

Developed by Rick Moog, James Spencer, Frank Creegan, Troy Wolfskill, David Hanson, Andrei Stroumanis, Diane Bunce, and Jennifer Lewis (among many others). For a complete list of POGIL project personnel and a partial list of practitioners, go to POGIL personnel .

What is Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning?

Instructor and students in a POGIL classroom.

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.

"This style of teaching, I believe, gives students the motivation to excel by becoming more engaged in the subject matter. It is much more effective than the monotonous lecture based teaching which sometimes has the tendency to weed out potentially good students." student comment

Learn more about process-oriented guided inquiry

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.

Learn why one would use POGIL

How to Use Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning

POGIL 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.

Learn how to use POGIL


  • 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.

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