The Inquiry Learning Cycle (originally defined in the research and innovation project Go-Lab) specifies the consecutive steps of an inquiry learning process. This cycle contains five main phases: Orientation, Conceptualization, Investigation, Conclusion and Discussion. Some of the phases include several sub-processes explained below. All phases of the inquiry learning process are closely connected with each other and provide a structure aiming at increasing the efficiency of the learning activities conducted with online labs and additional learning tools in the Go-Lab Portal.

The Inquiry Learning Cycle

In the first two phases of the cycle (Orientation and Conceptualisation) the opportunity is given to the students to gather information on a research question, take notes and build hypotheses and questions they want to investigate. Appropriate tools (like concept-map templates, search software, scratchpads, hypothesis-builder, etc.) to help students to work on their own can be provided by the teachers in the Inquiry Learning Spaces.

The actual interaction with the online lab happens in the third phase, the Investigation (which includes Exploration, Experimentation and Data Interpretation activities). Here the students collect specific data and check whether a hypothesis is correct or not by conducting personalized online experiments. Also, the students can gather experiment results and conduct guided interpretation of the collected data.

During the last two phases of the inquiry learning process (Conclusion and Discussion), the students learn how to write scientific explanations linking their hypotheses with the evidence collected during the investigation phase. Further, they are reflecting on their learning processes and outcomes, comparing and discussing them with other students. Teachers can evaluate learning results of their students and define further steps for the next classes.

The Inquiry Learning Cycle represents the basic scenario used to create Inquiry Learning Spaces in the Go-Lab Authoring Platform. However, it remains up to the teacher how many and which phases to include into her Space. In order to get some first ideas on other inquiry learning scenarios, which can be supported with an Inquiry Learning Space, please visit the page Pedagogical Scenarios.