Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning? Essay

Pages: 5 (1489 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: ≈ 5  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: Doctorate  ·  Topic: Teaching

¶ … discovery-Based instruction enhance learning?

Allusions to the Virtue of Guided Discovery-Based Learning

The merits of discovery-based learning have been debated for nearly as long as this approach towards learning has been popularized. A number of specific research studies have been conducted to validate the efficaciousness of discovery-based learning, including that authored by Louis Alfieri et al. entitled "Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning?." In order to properly analyze the research and findings conducted within this article via a synthesis of other articles that either corroborate or disprove its conclusions, it is necessary to provide a brief overview of the history and attempts of discovery-based learning. This educational technique was widely pioneered in the middle part of the 20th century, and was based upon the notion that unstructured learning via individual (and perhaps even small group) discoveries would positively impact the process and retention of obtaining knowledge. Discovery-based instruction places a greater emphasis on the role of the student for the responsibility of facilitating his or her own knowledge, through a process which was believed to be as valuable as that of the actual results of obtaining knowledge.

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The true value of relying upon limited instruction while facilitating instruction for students has been questioned via the traditional methods of instructor-based learning. The research conducted by Alfieri et al. was stratified into a pair of meta-analyses, the first of which compared the results of unassisted discovery learning with the results of conventional instructional learning. The second meta analyses compared the results of two different types of discovery-based learning, one of which was unstructured and the other of which was significantly more structured. The results of the research provided within this article, as well as those from other articles elucidating the merits of discovery-based learning, indicate that instruction and guidance plays an integral role in effective learning for students at most levels.

Objective Measurable Analyses

TOPIC: Essay on Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning? Assignment

The most logical place to begin examining the empirical evidence for the veracity of the proclivity to employ discovery-based learning due to its efficaciousness is via the data compiled by Alfieri et al.'s report. For the first meta analyses, there were 108 studies that yielded 580 comparisons that demonstrated that instructional teaching methods are more beneficial to learners than discovery-based methods that are unassisted. Significantly, the data in this article also indicated that 56 studies yielding a total of 360 comparisons demonstrated that guidance methods of discovery were more effective for learning than unassisted discovery-based learning.

The implications of these findings are fairly significant. These findings imply that students actually benefit more from pedagogical methods with instruction more than those that rely less upon instruction. An analyses of the empirical data from a study conducted by Flores and Kaylor supports this viewpoint. In this particular study, the researchers compared a basal method of teaching vs. An instructional-based method on seventh graders who could not pass a state required math course. The research method utilized within this study involved administering a pretest and a posttest to 30 such students -- with the assumption being that when students took the pretest, they were utilizing the knowledge they had learned via the basal method. The basal method of instruction incorporates some elements of discovery learning, as students have a fair amount of autonomy with certain assignments and license to learn on their own. The posttest was administered after students had engaged in eight weeks of rigorous instruction-based learning pedagogy. The results of the data, which issued a 16.224 t-test score at the .005 level, largely demonstrated that students significantly improved through the usage of the instruction-based learning. Although discovery-based learning was not explicitly compared by this study, the merits of instruction-based learning are fairly apparent and suggest that they are more beneficial to students than discovery-based pedagogy.

What is perhaps most important to denote regarding the research performed by Alfieri et al. is that there is actually a distinction between types of discovery-based learning. These two stratifications include unadulterated discovery learning, in which students are given minimal input via an instructor, and guided discovery learning in which pedagogues do not provide answers, but provide all of the cognitive tools and methods required for students to find the answers on their own. As previously denoted, the latter form of discovery-based learning was supported by statistical evidence in "Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning" as being of greater use to students than unstructured discovery-based learning. There is a plethora of research corroborated by empirical evidence that suggests… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning?" Essay in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning?.  (2012, July 26).  Retrieved August 1, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning?."  26 July 2012.  Web.  1 August 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Does Discovery-Based Instruction Enhance Learning?."  July 26, 2012.  Accessed August 1, 2021.