Sofia University, FMI (BULGARIA)
About this paper:
Appears in: INTED2020 Proceedings
Publication year: 2020
Pages: 2360-2369
ISBN: 978-84-09-17939-8
ISSN: 2340-1079
doi: 10.21125/inted.2020.0720
Conference name: 14th International Technology, Education and Development Conference
Dates: 2-4 March, 2020
Location: Valencia, Spain
Inquiry-based learning (IBL) is a complex and demanding active learning approach, putting teachers in the role of designers of open-ended educational scenarios. The required transition of roles and methods implies that not only teachers but also the key stakeholders and decision-makers should gain a more in-depth understanding of IBL, in order to support and co-create the wider adoption of this innovative learning method in schools.

The present research aims to discuss the design and evaluation of a holistic framework for participatory IBL validation, involving policymakers, teacher trainers and teachers in STEM.

The paper starts with a short overview of the validation approaches and participatory design. Then, the context of the IBL validation process along with the methodology of the holistic validation framework is outlined. The main section presents the three aspects of the IBL validation: evaluation of the IBL artefacts, analysis of the stakeholders’ challenges, and identification, participatory design and co-creation activities among key stakeholders.

The initial design of the holistic framework addresses the participatory validation of the IBL artefacts, produced within the Erasmus+ project ELITe. These artefacts include policy recommendations, active learning scenarios, assessment tools, guidelines, supplements, and validation instruments for policymakers, teacher trainers, and teachers in STEM. By bringing together key stakeholders and structuring the validation process in a participatory validation method, the paper’s authors succeeded to collect meaningful qualitative and quantitative data, insights, and recommendations.

The participatory design framework outlines three main dimensions:
- the form (the participants' activities, described as making (tangible things), telling (talking, explaining, reflecting), and enacting (acting, enacting and playing)).
- the purpose (of used tools and techniques).
- the context (where and how the tools and techniques are tested).

The framework is used in design of the Multiplier Event E7 “Toward professional development of ELITe STEM teachers” to co-create, co-design, and validate the main outcomes of the ELITe project.

The lessons learned during the implementation and general observations lead to conclusion that taking part in the IBL participatory validation framework added value for each of the stakeholders’ groups. However, the participants have highlighted that change in the mindset of the decision-makers is one of the key challenges for them. Therefore, national policy level documents should recognise and support the adoption of innovative active learning methods. This is a prerequisite for all IBL further implementations

The experience of applying the participatory validation framework is both motivating and inspiring, and can be easily replicated with other stakeholders (for example from industry, with parents and others). Furthermore, it led to the formulation of a list with specific policy recommendations, many new practical ideas and insights for teachers and teacher-trainers, but more importantly – to recognition of the value of IBL learning methods by all participated stakeholders.
STEM, IBL, Holistic Framework, Participatory Validation, co-creation design in education.