Online resource-based inquiry learning environment: Effects of teacher pedagogical practices on science understanding of primary learners working in groups

Project: Research project

Project Details


The digital age has not only changed the fundamental nature of resources; its exponential growth in amount and access has also changed how and where instruction and learning take place. Although some teachers can make wide use of learning resources from the internet, the resources are often used haphazardly. We know from the literature that inquiry learning is an effective pedagogy, but there are varied conceptions in employing teacher scaffolding in the pedagogical design of inquiry learning, particularly with learners at primary level. Hence, this proposed research attempts to answer the question “How do different pedagogical orientations of inquiry learning using online resources help primary learners working in groups develop better science understanding? The research will take upper primary pupils studying science topics in the form of groups as the context of study, and aim to gain an in-depth understanding of teacher conceptions and practices that are essential to support effective inquiry learning. Insights gained from this proposed research study will result in models of teacher pedagogical practices that can be used to inform future teacher professional development initiatives in teacher education. This proposal is based on the studies conducted by the research team in the previous years. These studies provide preliminary understanding of effective pedagogical designs and impacts on learning; for example, the approaches of inquiry learning, learner academic background and/or teacher support levels. This proposed research will involve teachers applying instructional practices with available online resource-based learning units to learners working in groups which is a commonly used classroom setting for science activities. This is to extend the investigation to identify how teachers’ pedagogical practices can impact learners’ understanding of science. The research methodology includes survey, interview, observation and analysis of lessons with support from the research team to explore how to “Make Teaching and Learning More Effective” as intervention throughout the two-year study. Changes of teachers’ conceptions and pedagogical practices will be identified by pre and post-lesson interviews. Learners’ learning will be measured by pre and post-lesson tests and concept mapping to study the changes in science understanding. The data analysis will focus on investigating the characteristics, correlations, multiple regression and interaction effect between conceptions of teaching, pedagogical practices, learner background and learning outcomes. The findings will provide useful information to facilitate teachers to design effective practices with the use of online resources in appropriate ways, in order to enhance learners’ inquiry learning of science.

Funding Source: RGC - General Research Fund (GRF)
Effective start/end date01/01/1030/06/12


  • resource-based learning
  • Inquiry Learning
  • learning environment


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