In the video "What is Inquiry-Based Science Education (IBSE)", Ton de Jong, coordinator of the Next-Lab project, introduces inquiry learning and its impact on students' learning outcome and competencies development. He then explains how the Go-Lab ecosystem is designed to support IBSE.

Summary of the video: What is Inquiry-Based Science Education 

Students face many challenges learning Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects, such as the inability to reach (deep) conceptual knowledge and the lack of motivation to learn Sciences in general. Using engaged learning can help students overcome these challenges. Engaged learning is any form of learning in which students are engaged in transforming or creating content, as well as discussing or reflecting on knowledge and skills. Hence, students go beyond the lesson material and try to create their own meaning. Engaged learning comes in different forms, one of which is inquiry learning. The Go-Lab ecosystem enables teachers to use inquiry-based science education (IBSE) as a form of engaged learning supported by technology, which fosters the transition from traditional to engaged inquiry learning.

What is inquiry learning?

Learning by inquiry, students act as “scientists”! They gain knowledge by developing and answering research questions and performing investigations, experimentations and data analyses to answer these questions. Students conduct experiments, collect evidence, formulate, evaluate, justify and communicate their explanations.

How to make inquiry learning effective?

To start with, open inquiry or discovery is not effective. Students need a certain level of guidance and support to make the best use of inquiry learning. Studies show that inquiry is positively associated with learning outcomes when the teacher offers conceptual guidance and scaffolding.

As a teacher, you can support your students by:

  • providing them with an overall strategy or structure to conduct their inquiry, which is what the Go-Lab inquiry cycle offers. The Go-Lab inquiry cycle is designed to guide inquiry learning using different phases: Orientation, Conceptualization, Investigation, Conclusion and Discussion/ Reflection.
  • giving them the right level of control, depending on their competencies and readiness level. This can range from a structured, guided, student directed to student research inquiry.
  • ensuring that they have the right level of prior knowledge to enable them to complete their inquiry. Students need to have enough knowledge about a topic before starting their inquiry, to be able to conduct proper investigations and acquire deep conceptual knowledge.
  • providing students with scaffolds or apps/tools that support them in performing specific tasks, especially tasks that they face difficulties completing without scaffolds. More importantly, the possibility to fade-in and fade-out the level of scaffold (i.e. control the amount of support) is needed to accommodate to the different students’ levels and progress.

How does Go-Lab Support Inquiry?

Online Labs (

Online Laboratories or Online Labs can be virtual or remote (physical labs that can be geared online). Online Labs are interactive and allow students to manipulate variables and observe results. Students can test their hypotheses, investigate and experiment with the labs, in order to draw evidence-based conclusions. When well supported with scaffolding throughout the inquiry process, students using Online Labs develop better (deep) conceptual knowledge in comparison to traditional instruction. Go-Lab has a collection of more than 600 Labs covering different subject domains in various languages, for students aged 7 to 18+.

Apps (

Apps are a technical solution supporting modern guided inquiry with scaffolds. Apps can support students create hypotheses, design an experiment, draw conclusions or write reports. More importantly, as a teacher, the Apps enable you to vary the level of support you want to provide to your students in the App. Go-Lab has a wide variety of Apps supporting inquiry learning, collaborative and reflective learning. As a teacher, you can choose between more than 40 Apps available in different languages.

You can read more about inquiry-based learning on