Inquiry-based learning is the process of seeking information through questioning. The process of inquiry-based learning begins with students gathering data and information and evaluating the information through the use of the senses, and posing questions to further knowledge or understanding of the concepts.
The teaching approach associated with inquiry-based learning encourages students to think critically about concepts and question the validity of theories. The learning process involves hands-on experiments, and research-based investigations to develop questions that relate to the learning concept. For example, teachers may ask students to conduct a lab experiment first, and then compose a list of questions about the process and the results to begin the lesson after the hands-on experiment instead of lecturing first and then conducting the experiment.
Inquiry-based learning puts the responsibility of learning on the student and prompts them to think about the complexity of the lesson and questioning concepts to develop the academic lesson. This student-center approach allows teachers to provide information about what students yearn to learn and encourages a team effort in teaching the concepts. The process of inquiry-based learning relies on what students need and want to know versus the traditional pedagogical practices that focus on what teachers and administrators designate as need-to-know information in academic settings.