Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

Process-Oriented guided-inquiry learning

21st Century Pedagogies

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POGIL is supported by a grant from the NSF that focuses on the national dissemination of POGIL methods and materials.

For more information on the POGIL project or to obtain POGIL materials please visit http://www.POGIL.org.

Support for this work is provided by the National Science Foundation’s Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement Program under grant DUE – 0231120.

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) is an innovative instructional approach based on a current understanding that students learn better when they are:

  • actively engaged and thinking in the classroom and laboratory
  • drawing conclusions by analyzing data or models and discussing ideas
  • working together in self-managed teams to understand concepts and solve problems
  • reflecting on what they have learned and how to improve performance
  • interacting with an instructor as a facilitator of learning.

The POGIL approach thus involves creating a learning environment where students are actively engaged in mastering a discipline and in developing essential skills by working in small, self-managed teams on specially-designed guided inquiry activities. These materials supply students with data or information followed by leading questions designed to guide them toward formulation of their own valid conclusions. In this way, students are their own understanding while developing higher-order thinking skills.

The instructor serves as a facilitator, observing and periodically addressing individual and classroom-wide needs. In addition to promoting more effective understanding and mastery of course content, POGIL also focuses on the development of skills such as information processing, critical thinking, problem solving, teamwork, and communication through both the design of the activities and the structure of the learning environment.

This combination makes POGIL a powerful instructional strategy that provides opportunities to teach both content and important learning skills simultaneously. It emphasizes that learning is an interactive process of thinking carefully, discussing ideas, refining understanding, practicing skills, reflecting on progress, and assessing performance.