Vol 40 No 2 (2010)

The Impact of Enquiry-Based Learning on Academic Performance and Student Engagement

Alastair Summerlee
Jacqueline Murray


Previously, we reported qualitative findings showing that students who experienced a problem- or enquiry-based course (EBL) in a first-year seminar program had greater confidence in their academic abilities, were more engaged, and were better prepared for upper-year courses. In the current paper, we provide quantitative data to substantiate the students’ qualitative conclusions. We present results to show that these students do perform at a significantly higher level compared with members of the control group who did not experience an EBL course. Using survey data, we show that the EBL students shift the way they access information compared with peers: they preferentially use more sophisticated resources for research. At the same time, students report greater engagement in the community, and student engagement is known to contribute to increased academic performance.



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