What is Integrating Collaborative, Inquiry and Experiential Learning (CIEL)?
The main goal of our research team is to integrate existing approaches
toward computer supported inquiry learning (CIEL), in which students learn by developing a line of inquiry and a means to
test it, much like a scientific researcher does. Such an approach is
not limited to the domain of science, but instead refers to the way
knowledge is constructed by the learners themselves. We are
interested in the design and evaluation of innovative, integrated
learning scenarios for collaborative, inquiry, and experiential
learning. This is being done through a common theoretical
framework and methodology, as well as via a shared architecture and
What has your Kaleidoscope research/activity achieved so far?
We have created a common architecture and integrated platform for
collaborative, inquiry and experiential learning, enabling partners
from research labs across Europe to share and exchange toolsets. As
proof of concept, a sample application has been created in which
adapted tools (originating from the different partners) work together.
The chosen subject matter for this application is ‘sampling’, a topic
of statistics that has wide-spread applications.
We continue to develop a glossary, or ontology, of shared terms of
educational concepts used in different learning environments. We
have also created a repository of research methods that can be used
within CIEL environments. This repository will be shared with the
Shared Virtual Laboratory.
What do you expect this research/activity will contribute to the field by the end of the project?
A common architecture and integrated platform for the development of
applications to support open-ended learning, which can be used for
future joint-research projects, as well as a shared research program
and a shared toolset.
How has Kaleidoscope benefited your activities?
The structure of Kaleidoscope, and its reach across Europe, has
facilitated our efforts in creating a shared platform where labs in
different countries could collaborate jointly.
What issues should your research area address in the future and why?
For inquiry learning to find its way to regular curricula, we need to
share methodologies, concepts and outcomes, and to build upon what
exists, as opposed to always reinventing the wheel. Also, a primary
focus should be on the standardization of material that is developed
and used—this would, for example, allow inquiry learning objects (such
as simulations, models made by learners or data gathered in a field
activity) to be exchanged easily between different environments in
order to create new scenarios.
What short message do you have for European policy makers?
Future European professionals, especially those working in science- and
technology-related fields, should have firm skills for the pursuit and
processing of relevant knowledge. Such crucial skills should be
supported starting at an early stage of their education, via methods of
inquiry learning. Therefore it is necessary to incorporate inquiry
learning in the European curricula, and it must be supported with
effective learning technology that allows for the integrated
development of rich, collaborative and interactive experiences.
What message do you have for the general public about the work your field is trying to achieve?
Study after study shows that learning just the facts is not enough
in today’s world; engaging people through collaborative, inquiry and
experiential learning is becoming increasingly important.
Our research field examines how we learn and collaborate in effective,
technology-mediated settings that involve learners in realistic
scientific research scenarios. Think about learning about physics by
collaboratively working with other students on an on-line experiment in
a high energy particle accelerator. Our technology will make such an