Discovery-Oriented Instruction
Heinz Neber
University of Duisburg, Essen, Germany
Learning by discovery is a response to repeatedly found deficits of traditional teaching: Fast forgetting of rote learned information, non-usable (inert) knowledge, insufficient competencies to think, innovate, and communicate, as well as declining interests in almost all subjects taught at schools.
From the beginning in the 1960s, discovery learning has been derived from findings in the learning sciences. Accordingly, students generate meaningful personal knowledge by own thinking - they go „beyond the information given“ by the teacher or by textbooks. At the same time, they acquire competences for creative and productive problem solving as well as skills to communicate and collaborate.
Meanwhile, discovery learning has been further developed. The lecture will make clear that it is now offering a general perspective for improving the quality of education. The original discovery learning has been transformed into an integrative approach of discovery-oriented instruction.
The participants will be informed about:
  • The required defining characteristics of this approach and how these differ from traditional teacher- and product-oriented instruction.
  • A taxonomy of four interconnected versions: Learning by examples, by conflict induction, by experimentation (inquiry), and, most ambitious for students and teachers, discovery learning by design; all versions will be illustrated by various methods and short examples.
  • Important instructional components will be highlighted: different kinds of learning tasks, required process-supporting tools, and basic methods for organizing learning cooperatively.
Altogether, discovery-oriented instruction should be implemented in all classrooms, for all subjects, and levels of learners. It is required for attaining the worldwide standards of education, and even more for realizing the next-generation standards. However, it is not easy to do this. But there are various possibilities available for gradually transforming teaching and implementing this perspective into your own classroom. First steps are so easy to realize that each teacher could immediately start. The last issue covered in the lecture will be how to do that.
This workshop will further deepen and elaborate this issue by active exercises.