Enquiry-Based Learning: A Socially Just Approach to Higher Education

Abstract

Higher education’s transformative potential is widely recognized and virtually unassailable: since the very emergence of universities, higher education in particular has been viewed as the key to improving the mind, improving social and economic status, and improving society as a whole. However, as we increase access to higher education, we need to ask – are our teaching and learning strategies at the tertiary level, socially just? Current pedagogies are founded on an incremental credentialism that favours those who are able to afford continuous education, and with increases in tuition fees, the cost of text books and access to technology, there are uneven demands on students. Enquiry-based learning (EBL) offers an alternate solution if offered at the start of university education. Key learning of objectives are: (1) teaching students learn how to learn; (2) demonstrating the importance of multicultural, multidisciplinary ways of thinking; (3) promoting the value of diversity and inclusiveness; and (4) improving communication skills, EBL offers an approach to entry-level tertiary education across disciplines which is socially just.  It provides a unique opportunity, during the fourth revolution, to create citizen scholars with a passion for learning and an ability to transfer learning skills to interdisciplinary problems or teaching environment.