Inquiry-Driven Instruction for Personalized Learning

Teach a student a subject, and you’ve accomplished something wonderful! Create a lifelong passion for learning, and you’ve changed a life!

In a traditional model of teaching, you deliver information and then ask the students questions – in class, through pop quizzes and homework assignments, or via testing. This teaching model, which has been in place decades, still can work well in classrooms. But an inquiry-driven approach to instruction can also be an effective approach for today’s students.

What Is Inquiry-Driven Instruction

Inquiry-driven instruction asks far more of students than simply listening and reading in order to learn something. Instead, it compels students to be engaged from the beginning. Students share ideas, ask questions, and decide what they want to learn and how they’ll learn it.

As the teacher, you still direct everything, but students are given much more latitude in this personalized learning process. Researching topics, participating in group discussions, and making presentations on what they’ve learned inspires students to be more engaged and more responsible for the outcomes.

Inquiry-Driven Strategies

You don’t have to (and probably can’t) change your teaching style overnight to be entirely inquiry-based. But you can start incorporating inquiry-based learning instruction into your lesson plans. Specific strategies and activities for inquiry-driven instruction will vary across grade levels. But for all ages, you can kickstart your inquiry-driven approach by asking open-ended questions yourself, then encouraging students to pose their own questions.

From there, you can develop a plan that will result in your students learning concepts and skills. For example, you can ask students to research something, write about it, collaborate with other students, and/or make a presentation. You can steer students towards age-appropriate resources, which could include: books, computer programs, apps, websites, newspapers, magazines, and more.

Along the way, it’s important to set goals and expectations. Students will need guidelines for desired outcomes, what’s expected of them on each project, and how to collaborate with others.

Benefits of Inquiry-Driven Instruction

Teachers and schools are embracing inquiry-driven instruction because this type of teaching can:

  • increase student engagement (and decrease student disengagement)
  • spark students’ curiosity
  • make students feel more empowered
  • give students a bigger role and more responsibility in the learning process
  • allow students to learn by doing, not just seeing, hearing, reading, and memorizing
  • help students master skills and adopt habits that they’ll use in all aspects of life, for a lifetime


Learn More About Inquiry-Driven Instruction for Personalized Learning

If you’d like to learn more about inquiry-driven instruction, we offer a 3-credit online course on Personalizing Learning that covers not only inquiry-driven instruction, but also student-centered instruction, data-driven instruction, and assessments.


Education 4 Equity

At Education 4 Equity, we’re committed to providing the best professional development courses for teachers, delivered 100% online. We offer 1-credit, 2-credit, and 3-credit online courses for teachers that qualify for graduate level credit and have been approved for LAUSD salary points through the Los Angeles Unified School District.