The proposed research aims at establishing the reliability of using inquiry-based learning (IBL) in teaching sciences particularly, in home-based education. In a world where information is readily available and believed facts are constantly changing, education focused on memorizing facts is no longer relevant. Consequently, educators must focus on teaching methods that spur the creation of knowledge and critical thinking-a method supported by inquiry-based learning. Contrary to the traditional educational system where students were taught established facts, in inquiry-based learning the facilitator gives the students’ scenario cases and poses various questions aimed at developing the students’ thinking skills rather than getting the correct answer. Home schooling is a popular home based education system that complements the formal education system.
There have been various researches on the reliability and importance of inquiry-based learning in teaching science and mathematics. Notably, among the pioneers of this educational method was Dewey, who argued that a good education system should actively involve students in the learning process (Dewey, 1938). Additionally, modern research on inquiry-based learning in science and mathematics has supported this training method. In a research conducted by Davis, Sumara, & Luce-Kapler (2000) it was found that people have a limited ability to remember ideas and knowledge if they learn in a decontextualized environment. Consequently, isolated facts and ideas learnt through repetitive drills such as in traditional class setting are meaningless. As a result, it can be deduced that students learn more when the subjects are meaningful to them which occur in inquiry-based learning.
In yet another study conducted by Newmann, Bryk, & Nagaoka, (2001) it was found that students who were taught using inquiry-based learning had better performance in standardized exams that those taught using traditional methods Newmann, Bryk, & Nagaoka, (2001) determined the effectiveness of this approach by evaluating the performance of students in mathematics and writing assignments in the third, sixth and eighth grade. This research alluded that inquiry-based learning was an effective training method.
Further still, Hattie (2009) argues that a student’s academic performance is influenced by various instructional and environmental factors, including but not limited to inquiry-based learning. Consequently, this training method is necessary to maximize a student performance. Collaboratively, Ortlieb and Lu (2011) support this instructional method because it has a greater commitment in aiding students in developing their critical thinking skills.
Previous research studies show the importance of inquiry-based learning in facilitating knowledge based and critical thinking. Unfortunately, these researches are limited to a school settings. Additionally, inasmuch as inquiry-based learning is important Davis et al. (2008) notes that rote memorizing-an aspect of traditional based learning is relevant in inquiry-based learning particularly in counting and decoding of texts. Consequently, this study will focus on the overall impact of this technique on home education.
The proposed research will aim at identifying whether the implementation of inquiry-based learning is effective in home education. As a result, the variables will aim at comparing the student’s performance before with after implementation of this method. Consequently, the research will allude that the student’s performance is a function of the implementation of inquiry-based learning (IBL) techniques.
The dependent variable is the student academic performance.
The independent variables are:
- The number of tutors using IBL.
- Period of use of IBL.
- Training facilities for using IBL.
- The amount of hours spent per day in IBL.
- Cost of implementing IBL.
- How effective if inquiry-based learning in home education?
- What is the challenge in implementing inquiry-based learning in home learning?
- What is the cost of implementing this instructional method in a home setting?
The research will be done over a two year period and the assessment will be conducted at every end of term for the participants. I will use the following procedure in the evaluation of the effectiveness of IBL in home education.
- I will get a sample of fifty homes that have implemented the home education system.
- I will evaluate the performance of the students in these homes before the implementation of inquiry-based learning.
- I will tell the parents to implement the inquiry-based learning method in their training.
- I will create a list of the parents who have implemented and those who have failed to implement this method.
- I will collect the reasons for the failure to implement inquiry-based learning. The reasons may be cost of facilities to train IBL or lack of a tutor.
- For the families that have implemented IBL, I will provide them with a time schedule where they will record the amount of time a student spends in the session. Additionally, I will request the families to provide me with a list of training facilities available for the program.
- I will conduct a regular assessment of academic performance of the students in a standard test for all families every four months and assess the students’ progress.
- From the assessment, I will compare the performance of the students who have the inquiry-based learning with those without this method.
Data Collection Tools
Questionnaires and interviews will be the principle data collection tools for this method. Statistical evaluation of this data will be conducted to find if there is a relationship between the student’s academic performance and use of inquiry-based learning. The questionnaires and the interviews will have structured question. The questionnaire will ask on issues on the family’s perception on the inquiry-based learning. Additionally, the interviews will be conducted every four months when I will be collecting the student’s standardized tests performance. The interviews will help in identifying any areas that should be rectified so as to facilitate a better inquiry-based learning method.
Conclusively, this research will indicate whether an inquiry-based learning method is appropriate for home education. Additionally, it will also show challenges in implementing this system in home schooling and probable solutions. Further still, it will also provide important insights that may implemented in the school based education. Consequently, this research method is appropriate since the conventional school method was structured for the industrial age labor market that has since been replaced by the information age which requires innovative, creative and critical thinkers.
Hattie, J. (2009). Visible learning: A synthesis of over 800 meta-analyses relating to achievement. London: Rutledge.
Davis, B., Sumara, D., & Luce-Kapler, R. (2000). Engaging minds: Changing teaching in complex times. New York, NY: Routledge.
Davis, E. & Linn, M. (2000). Scaffolding students’ knowledge integration: Prompts for reflection in KIE. International Journal of Science Education 22: 819–837.
Dewey, J. (1938). Experience and education. New York, NY: Macmillan
Ortlieb, E. T., & Lu, L. (2011). Improving teacher education through inquiry-based learning. International Education Studies, 4(3), 41-46.
Newmann, F., Bryk, A., & Nagaoka, J. (2001). Authentic intellectual work and standardized tests: Conflict or coexistence. Chicago, IL: Consortium on Chicago School Research.