Application of Information-Learning Theories



While investigating and researching Guided Inquiry (GI) and Geography, I have been conducting my own inquiry and travelling through the Information Search Process (ISP).  Reflecting on my personal experience in relation to the elements of Kuhlthau’s GI design framework and ISP (Kuhlthau, Maniotes & Caspari, 2012), it was useful to be conscious of of my feelings during each stage.  At some stages, my feelings contrasted with Kuhlthau’s generalisations, which demonstrates how students can feel differently from each other at the different stages, and this may vary from task to task.  As a result, it is important for teachers to make students aware that it is expected and natural to experience varying waves of emotion throughout the process, and for teachers to provide adequate support and guidance along the way.  Another discovery for me has been the value of the “open” and “immerse” stages.  For this task, these stages made me excited, engaged and motivated, and gave me useful background information.  As I found the “explore” stage quite difficult and a bit overwhelming, my positive feelings about the previous two stages helped to balance out these feelings.  I have described my journey below:


Kuhlthau, C. C., Maniotes, L. K., & Caspari, A. K. (2012). Guided inquiry design framework. Retrieved from

Initial Reflection



I first came across inquiry learning several years ago, while relief teaching at an International Baccalaureate school in Perth. The students and teachers seemed so engaged in their learning.  Apart from student motivation, two aspects which particularly impressed me were the focus on students developing their own questions to explore,  and the creativity with which they presented and shared their personal discoveries.  Since then, I have been keen to learn more about inquiry learning, and am really pleased to be able to explore this pedagogy and process in this unit.

There appear to be many different models of inquiry learning, rooted in similar pedagogy.  They all appear to make learners more conscious of the information-seeking process itself, and encourage deep thinking and curiosity.  The focus is on the process, rather than the content.  This process aims to create meaning, relevance and personal interest, and develop skills for lifelong learning, as well as good citizenship.

I am hoping that, by the end of this unit, I will be confident to share my new learning with other members of staff, and start to work with some of them to plan and facilitate inquiry learning at my school.

Some initial questions:

1. Does inquiry learning need to occur within a whole school approach in order to work effectively?

2. Do weaker students need extra guidance and/or structure, or do they succeed by working at their own level, optimising their strengths and/or collaborating?

3. What kind of learning spaces best facilitate inquiry learning?