The effects of an Inquiry-based Learning physics practical on the students’ intrinsic motivation, a mixed methods research.
MetadataShow full item record
This mixed-methods study investigates the effects of an Inquiry-based Learning secondary education physics experiment on the intrinsic motivation of students, compared to a Direct Instruction equivalent. In a quasi-experiment, 376 students from 9 high schools in The Netherlands were assigned to a control group (Direct Instruction experiment – 208 students) and an experimental group (Inquirybased Learning experiment – 168 students) and their intrinsic motivation was measured by a questionnaire, pre- and posttest. The ANCOVA analysis, with the pre-test as the covariate showed a significant difference between the variants from pre- to posttest on one of the three sub-scales of the questionnaire (Interest/enjoyment). The effect size, measured by the Partial Eta Squared was small, Partial Eta Squared = .011, favoring the Inquiry-based Learning variant experiment. From the 376 students, 22 students from 2 schools were randomly sampled for 6 focus group sessions. Students reported that they enjoyed the autonomy offered by the Inquiry-based Learning experiment but they also noted that they found the Inquiry-based Learning variant harder to perform, compared to the Direct Instruction. The results of this study show that Inquiry-based Learning had a small positive effect on students’ intrinsic motivation in comparison to the Direct Instruction experiment. We conclude that the Inquirybased Learning experiment supports the students’ basic psychological need for autonomy, however it fails to adequately support their need for competence. Suggestions for improvement are given.