Inductive Teaching & Learning

Topics are introduced by presenting specific observations, case studies or problems, and theories are taught or students are helped to discover them only after the need to know them has been established.

The following are examples of Inductive Teaching & Learning:

Case-based learning is a variant of project-based learning, more popular in business and law schools. Students construct their knowledge by working on complex and real-life cases.

For Discovery learning, students acquire the knowledge that they discover on their own. Discovery learning is “an approach to instruction through which students interact with their environment by exploring and manipulating objects, wrestling with questions and controversies, or performing experiments” (Ormrod, 1995, p. 442).

Experiential learning is defined as “the process whereby knowledge is created through the transformation of experience.” (Kolb, 1984, p. 38). The famous four-step cycle of David Kolb depicts the experiential learning process, including the integration of concrete experience, reflective observation, abstract conceptualization, and active experimentation. Please refer to this link for the figure and further explanation.

The philosophy of experiential education was significantly formalised by John Dewey in his book Experience and Education. With a belief that students learn better by doing and by reflecting on the experience, experiential learning can be applied to, but not limited to, hands-on laboratory experiments, internships, Service-Learning, cooperative education, clinical education, student teaching, practicum, undergraduate research experience, community-based research, etc.

For more elaboration on five innovative teaching approaches to experiential learning (i.e., project-based learning, problem-based learning, Service-Learning, place-based education, and active learning), please refer to Wurdinger and Rudolph’s paper Teaching Practices that Improve Student Learning: Five Experiential Approaches.

For more discussion on experiential learning’s mechanism, principles, and instructors’ and students’ roles, please refer to the practices of Boston University.

For more professional development resources and opportunities related to experiential education, please refer to the official website of the Association for Experiential Education.

Inquiry-based instruction is a student-centered pedagogy. Instead of the teachers giving instructions and answers to the students directly, students have to be actively involved in their own learning by exploring, acquiring, and analyzing information to develop solutions to the questions posed.

Inquiry learning begins when students are presented with questions to be answered, problems to be solved, or a set of observations to be explained. This is an umbrella category that encompasses other inductive teaching methods such as problem-based and case-based learning.

Just-in-time teaching (JiTT) is a teaching and learning strategy that utilizes carefully constructed web-based assignments to promote interactions between students and instructor and create a student-centered classroom environment. In JiTT, students respond electronically to the web-based assignments that are due shortly before the class section and the instructor reads the student submissions “just-in-time” to adjust the classroom lesson to suit the students’ needs.

Problem-based learning (PBL) is a student-centered instructional strategy that stimulates students’ learning by challenging them with open-ended, ill-defined and ill-structured, real-world problems. Students usually work in collaborative groups to solve the problems and reflect on their experiences. Traditional teaching is replaced by facilitation of learning. PBL has been widely adopted by medical schools around the world.

Project-based learning is a student-centered teaching technique. Itallows students to construct their own knowledge and skills by working cooperatively on complex and challenging real-life projects.