Why Use Process-Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning
Effective Learning Strategy
Recent developments in cognitive learning theory as well as results of classroom research suggest that most students experience improved learning when they are actively engaged and when they are given the opportunity to construct their own knowledge. These results counter the widespread misapprehension that effective teaching must be instructor-centered, involving the transfer of content directly from the expert (professor) to the novice (student). More "student-centered" approaches to learning are based on the premises that students will learn better when: they are actively engaged and thinking in class; they construct knowledge and draw conclusions by analyzing data and discussing ideas; they learn how to work together to understand concepts and solve problems; and the instructor serves as a facilitator to assist students in the learning process.
The effectiveness of POGIL has been assessed at a range of institutions and for a variety of courses (Farrell, J. J., Moog, R. S., and Spencer, J. N. (1999) J. Chem. Ed., 76, 570-574; Hanson, D., and Wolfskill, T. (2000) J. Chem. Ed., 77, 120-130; Hinde, R. J., and Kovac, J. (2001) J. Chem. Ed., 78, 93-99; Lewis, J. E., and Lewis, S. E. (2005) J. Chem. Ed., 82(1), 135-139). Several common, and important, outcomes are observed in all of these studies:
- Student attrition is lower for POGIL than traditional methods.
- Student mastery of content is generally higher for POGIL than traditional methods.
- Most students prefer POGIL over traditional methods.
We also consider success in terms of the development of process skills, which are much more difficult to measure. We have used the SALG as a measure of student perception of their own learning gains, in comparison to students with more traditional instruction. Some examples of these measures area available at the POGIL website and also in the ACS Symposium Series book on POGIL published by Oxford University Press.
Students are the best advocates for POGIL. They report that they prefer POGIL to traditional methods of teaching as shown in the figure.