Inquiry-Based Pedagogical Models [5E vs 7E]

Inquiry-based learning is a student-centred teaching technique that encourages pupils to ask questions and do research on real-world issues.

Inquiry-Based Pedagogical Models [5E or 7E]
Inquiry-Based Pedagogical Models [5E vs 7E]

Inquiry-Based Instructional Models

Are you seeking a teaching method that will motivate your kids to learn? Do you want them to be able to inquire about and research real-world issues? If so, you should think about incorporating inquiry-based learning into your classroom. Inquiry-based learning is a teaching technique in which students are encouraged to ask questions and research real-world challenges. This style of learning has several advantages and may be used in a wide range of subjects.

This blog article will go through the benefits of inquiry-based learning as well as some tactics, suggestions, and models that you may implement in your classroom. But first, let's define inquiry-based learning for ourselves.

What Is Inquiry-Based Learning?

Inquiry-based learning is a student-centred teaching technique that encourages pupils to ask questions and do research on real-world issues. Students are actively involved in the learning process and have the chance to explore their natural interests in this sort of learning environment.

This sort of learning is frequently hands-on and helps students to relate what they are learning in the classroom to what they are learning in the real world. Critical thinking, problem-solving, and creativity have all been found to improve with inquiry-based learning.

The 4 Types of Inquiry-Based Learning

There are four types of inquiry-based learning:

1. The Structured Inquiry Approach

The structured inquiry method is a step-by-step technique that teaches students how to ask questions and analyze real-world situations. In science lessons, students are given a topic to research and are taught how to apply the scientific process to discover a solution.

2. The Open-Ended Inquiry Approach

The open-ended inquiry approach to inquiry-based learning is more free-form. Students are given the flexibility to explore their interests and ask questions about the topic they are studying in this sort of learning environment. This form of inquiry-based learning is commonly utilized in humanities classrooms, where students are expected to investigate a topic in-depth and discuss many points of view.

3. The Problem-Based Inquiry Approach

A problem-based inquiry approach to inquiry-based learning is a problem-solving approach to inquiry-based learning. Students are given a real-world challenge to tackle in this manner. In mathematics and engineering studies, students are typically required to use what they have learned to solve a real-world problem, which is an example of inquiry-based learning.

4. The Guided Inquiry Approach

The guided inquiry approach is an inquiry-based learning strategy taught by a teacher. The instructor guides the pupils through the inquiry process, assisting them in asking questions and finding answers to real-world situations. In elementary and middle school classes, this form of inquiry-based learning is common.

Now that we have a better knowledge of the many forms of inquiry-based learning, let's look at the advantages.

Benefits of Inquiry-Based Learning

With so many benefits, it is no wonder that inquiry-based learning has become a popular teaching method. Some of the benefits of inquiry-based learning include:

1. Encourages Critical Thinking

Inquiry-based learning encourages students to think critically about the information they are presented with. They are asked to question the information and develop their own solutions. This type of learning helps students develop problem-solving skills and critical-thinking skills.

2. Improves Problem-Solving Skills

Inquiry-based learning helps students develop problem-solving skills. When they are given the opportunity to explore real-world problems, they are forced to think outside the box and come up with their own solutions. This is an important skill that will help them in their future careers.

3. Encourages Creativity

This concept of learning encourages creativity. When students are given the opportunity to explore a problem independently, they often come up with creative solutions. This is due to the fact that any particular way of thinking does not restrict them.

4. Improves Communication Skills

It also helps students improve their communication skills. When working on a problem, they often have to explain their thoughts and ideas to others. This helps them learn how to communicate effectively with others.

5. Connects Learning to the Real World

Inquiry-based learning helps connect learning to the real world. When students are allowed to explore problems that exist in the real world, they can see how what they are learning in the classroom is relevant. This also helps them develop a better understanding of the material.

6. Helps Students Understand Complex Topics

Inquiry-based learning can also help students understand complex topics. When they are allowed to explore these topics in a hands-on environment, they can learn about them more meaningfully.

7. Encourages Engaged Learning

Finally, this type of learning encourages engaged learning. When students are actively involved in the learning process, they are more likely to retain the information. This is due to the fact that they are invested in what they are doing.

Inquiry-Based Learning Examples

Now that we have looked at the benefits of inquiry-based learning let’s take a look at some examples.

1. Science Experiments

One way to incorporate inquiry-based learning into your classroom is to allow students to conduct experiments. This will encourage them to ask questions and think critically about the results.

2. Field Trips

Another way to encourage inquiry-based learning is to take students on field trips. This will allow them to explore real-world problems and see how what they are learning in the classroom is relevant.

3. Classroom Debates

Classroom debates are another great way to encourage this type of learning. When students debate a topic, they are forced to think critically about both sides of the argument.

4. Projects

Projects are another great way to encourage inquiry-based learning. When students are given the opportunity to work on a project that is related to the topic they are studying, they will be more likely to learn and remember the information.

5. Group Work

When students work in groups, they are able to share their ideas and thoughts with others. This helps them to understand the material better.

5E Model of Instruction

The 5Es are an instructional model encompassing the phases of Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate, steps which educators have traditionally taught students to move through in phases.

First, teachers begin a session with an exercise or inquiry designed to engage students, pique their attention, and allow them to contribute what they already know about the subject. This step may entail assisting them in making connections between their prior knowledge base and the new ideas that will be introduced in the lesson or unit. Many teachers utilize classic KWL charts in this stage, in which students identify what they already know and what they desire to learn. Students return to this sheet at the conclusion of the class to record what they have learnt. Following engagement comes exploring, in which students participate in hands-on activities. They get a better grasp of the material through experiments or other interactions with it.

After exploring, students seek to describe what they have learned and experienced with the assistance of the instructor, who only then clarifies ideas or terminology found during exploration. Students then expand on their comprehension by applying what they've learned to different scenarios in order to hone their talents. Students review, reflect on and provide proof of their improved comprehension of the content in the final step.

This appears to be a solid model for hands-on, student-centred instructional learning at a first impression. This approach, however, fails in one important aspect: it is employed as a linear progression. The process begins with engagement, then moves on to investigating, explaining, elaborating, and finally assessing. The problem with this strategy is that the 5Es do not follow a logical development. Exploring and engaging are not mutually exclusive. Exploration is not always distinct from explanation. Exploration necessitates elaboration. All of these elements must be evaluated.

Even if they are removed more than once, each process informs the others. Thinking about these phases in a linear fashion, or structuring a lesson plan in this manner, does not prepare students to become scientists and engineers in the way that the Next Generation Science Standards need. That is not to say we should toss out the baby with the bathwater. The 5Es are still very helpful teaching and learning tool.

7E Model of Instruction

The 7E learning cycle model is a model that can guide students to actively acquire new knowledge with 7E (elicit, engage, explore, explain, elaborate, evaluate, and extend). Teaching materials using the 7E learning cycle can help students understand the problems and phenomena they encounter in the environment.


In most cases, you will start with the “Elicit”. Here you can find out what the students know by eliciting responses from them. This can be done in a variety of ways, such as “Quick Quizzes, MCQs, Post-it notes, mini whiteboards, KWL, traffic lights etc. This is also a good opportunity to deal with students' misunderstandings.


The next stage is the “Engage” stage. This can come before or after the elicit stage. In this stage you want to engage interest and curiosity, raise “The BIG questions” and provide the “HOOK” for why the students want to learn.


During the “Explore” stage, pupils should be given opportunities to work together, independent of you, their teacher to explore. As the teacher, you should set up the task, but then become the facilitator, helping students by asking questions and observing. (In Scientific enquiry using Piaget's theory, this is a time for disequilibrium. This is an opportunity for students to test their predictions, problem solve, research, and ultimately find out themselves.)


Following the explore stage I would next go onto the “Explain” stage of the lesson. During this stage, I would use what students had discovered in the exploration stage to help them build a concept. I would try to encourage the students to explain concepts and definitions in their own words and ask for justification and clarification before providing them with new labels, definitions and theories.


The next stage is the stage that will be KEY in assessing their progress, knowledge and understanding. Students may work independently during this stage to demonstrate learning. This is where students formalise and apply their learning.


In some cases, you may require an additional “Extend” stage. In this stage, you are encouraging the students to apply or extend the concepts and skills in new situations. Students make connections not just in the subject/ideas studied but also beyond it. They are able to apply ideas/generalise and transfer principles.


While it is expected that evaluation will continue throughout the process, the evaluation section is the section where you the teacher evaluate the learning that has occurred. This should also include self-reflection and evaluation from the student. I personally link back to the learning outcomes to assess the progress that has been made.

Let’s Wrap!

Inquiry-based learning is a teaching method that encourages students to ask questions and explore their answers. This type of learning has many benefits, both for students and teachers. In this article, we’ve looked at some of the critical benefits of inquiry-based learning as well as strategies you can use to get started in your own classroom. We hope you’re inspired to give it a try!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

What is the importance of inquiry-based learning?

Inquiry-based learning is important because it allows students to explore and ask questions about the world around them. This type of learning helps students develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

What is the definition of inquiry-based learning?

Inquiry-based learning is a type of active learning that encourages students to ask questions, conduct research, and explore new ideas. This approach to learning helps students develop critical thinking, problem-solving, and research skills.

What are the roles of students in inquiry-based learning?

In inquiry-based learning, students take on the role of researcher. They are encouraged to ask questions and explore new ideas. Students also have the opportunity to share their findings with their classmates and learn from each other.

How do you plan an inquiry-based lesson?

Inquiry-based lessons are typically designed around a central question or problem. From there, teachers can provide resources and scaffolding to help students investigate the topic. It is important to leave room for student exploration and allow them to ask their own questions.

What are the five guiding questions of inquiry?

The 5 guiding questions of inquiry are:

  • What?

  • So what?

  • Now what?

  • How?

  • Why?

Do inquiry-based and project-based learning have to be the same thing?

No, inquiry-based and project-based learning are two different approaches. Inquiry-based learning is focused on student-driven research and exploration. Project-based learning is focused on students working together to complete a real-world project. However, both approaches can include elements of inquiry and problem-solving.

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