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Most college students are required to take at least one mathematics course. Many of these students view mathematics as a dry and tedious subject, where the main task is to “plug and chug” using formulas. In contrast, mathematicians see mathematics as a creative process in which real joy comes from grappling with difficult problems and (hopefully) solving them. In this way, mathematics is like a fun puzzle. The challenge is to get students to view mathematics the same way that their teachers do. Inquiry-based learning (IBL) can help solve this problem. The Academy of Inquiry-Based Learning describes IBL as a pedagogical method that encourages students to conjecture, discover, solve, explore, collaborate, and communicate (What is IBL? (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.inquirybasedlearning.org/?page=What_is_IBL). With IBL, teachers do not lay out all of the formulas and theorems as previous knowledge. Nor do they provide perfect, easily worked through examples and proofs for every new topic. Instead, IBL courses demonstrate the creative process that is mathematics. IBL makes class more enjoyable for both teachers and students, and can bring students closer to the real experiences of mathematicians.
This chapter provides an introduction to how the inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach is being used by colleges and universities around the world to strengthen the…
This chapter provides an introduction to how the inquiry-based learning (IBL) approach is being used by colleges and universities around the world to strengthen the interconnections between teaching, learning, and research within STEM programs. This chapter provides a synthesis and analysis of the chapters in the volume, which present a range of case studies and empirical research on how IBL is being used across a range of courses across a range of institutions within STEM programs. Based on these findings, this chapter argues that the IBL approach has great potential to enhance and transform teaching and learning. Given the growing demands placed on education to meet a diverse range of complex political, economic, and social problems and personal needs, this chapter argues that education should be a place where students learn “how-to-learn” – where increasingly higher levels of self-directed learning is fostered – and where students grow in the three key areas of learning: affectively, behaviorally, and cognitively. To that end, this chapter argues that IBL, if designed and implemented properly, can be an important approach to enhancing and transforming teaching and learning in higher education.