What is Enquiry-Based Learning?

Several CETLs across England have a strong focus on Enquiry and Research-Based learning.

Enquiry and Research-Based Learning (EBL and RBL) are terms used to describe a method of teaching and learning based on self-directed enquiry or research by the student. EBL provides a strongly student-centred approach to teaching and learning, enhancing students' learning experience during their time at university.

Research skills and student-centred learning are fundamental to developing students' self-reliance, independence and ability to identify, investigate and solve problems. Employers look for graduates with excellent generic skills - communication, interpersonal, learning, numeric, self-management and use of IT - as well as individuals who can work independently and who have high quality, transferable research skills.

Enquiry Based Learning encourages students to take part in the research practices of their discipline, thereby strengthening the links between teaching and learning in universities. Students carry out research that enables them to engage actively and creatively with questions and problems, often in collaboration with other students or with staff. The research tasks enable the exploration and investigation of issues and are open-ended so that different responses and solutions are possible.

Benefits to Students

Our CETL aims to ensure that the benefits of being at a research intensive university are felt by our students by embedding research opportunities within the curriculum.  We aim to benefit the undergraduate learning experience by:

  • opening up to student access many of our rich museums, archives and collections.  This will support the development of students' cognitive skills through their engagement with primary research materials.
  • investing in new equipment to enable undergraduates to use the tools and techniques previously only accessible to post-graduate researchers.
  • developing vacation opportunities for students to work with academic research teams to engage in genuine cutting-edge research (UROP). 
  • promoting voluntary work within our museums and collections, providing students with extra-curricular opportunities to direct their own skills-learning.
  • enhancing modules and course materials to develop students' abilities to recognise and validate problems, think independently and criticallly, and develop their observation, analytical and communication skills - which all enhance future employability.
  • investing in dedicated learning spaces around the university.

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