20 Guaranteed Ways You Can Tell Inquiry-Based Learning is Working

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While inquiry-based learning remains an engaging and rich method of learning, some teachers and educators wonder what signs they should be looking for to see that their students are benefitting. Below are 20 ways you can tell that your inquiry-based approach is working.


You might notice that a student…

child working with a plan and checklist
  • Shows organization by coming up with a work plan to help them complete their tasks.
  • Manages their time effectively using their plan to help them tick work off their lists.
  • Takes charge of their learning by gathering resources on their own time.
  • Demonstrates curiosity and interest in particular topics on their own.
  • Builds strong relationships with peers by accepting roles and equitable amounts of work.
  • Approaches the tasks on their work lists with positivity and curiosity.
  • Inquires a lot more about their topic and the “big ideas” related to it.
  • Sets goals on their own, asking for help when needed.
  • Establishes priorities according to specific timelines and deadlines.
  • Monitors their progress towards achieving goals they set out for themselves.
child learning independently
  • Promotes critical thinking to solve problems and make beneficial decisions.
  • Utilizes to-do lists, graphic organizers, or web-based learning applications on their own.
  • Manages their own behaviour by choosing a seat conducive to accomplishing their tasks.
  • Asks for help or guidance when they reach a natural roadblock.
  • Responds positively to the ideas, opinions, and suggestions of others.
  • Uses class time more appropriately to get their work done.
  • Shows that they are willing to take risks with their new ideas.
  • Is more accepting of timelines, instructions, and deadlines, and manages these well.
  • Shares their information, resources, or expertise with others.
  • Works with passion, purpose, and with a smile on their face.


Final Thoughts

While there are several ways to tell if inquiry-based learning is working in your classroom, they may not always be obvious. Similarly, there may be other tell-tale signs that IBL is working in your learning environment that haven’t been listed. Always check in regularly with your students to find out what’s proving helpful or not helpful from them, and always be willing to adapt.



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