Phenomenology and Enquiry-based Learning

Paper + eposter


In Higher Education, Enquiry-based learning (EBL) can be criticised for often being an umbrella term under which can be gathered a loosely related collection of aspects of good educational practice.  On the other hand, a philosophical case can be made for all learning having the essential character of enquiry.  Where does this leave the discourse about EBL and its implementation?  What exactly is intended by ‘enquiry’?  This paper considers the concept of enquiry from the philosophical perspective of phenomenology, aiming to take seriously the claim that all learning has the character of enquiry. R G Collingwood’s thesis of the ‘logical priority of the question’ will be explored in relation to hermeneutic accounts of learning developed from Heidegger and Gadamer.  Three subsequent implications will be developed for the Higher Education context: that the question is constituted in the event rather than given in advance, which leads to a necessary tension between learning and the ‘programme of study’, module or scheme that the question concerns some ‘subject matter’ that is at stake for both the student and the object of study, which draws our attention to the intentionality of learning that the question operates on the level of being students are ‘called into question’, and thus transformed, by the object of study.   The session will be a paper proposal which will incorporate a ‘prezi’ (which can also be displayed as a poster).  Participants will also be given the opportunity to evaluate a number of HE resources on enquiry-based learning, including video.

Keywords:  Enquiry, Philosophy, Engaging students