module specification

SE5004 - Enquiry-based Learning (2022/23)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2022/23
Module title Enquiry-based Learning
Module level Intermediate (05)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Social Sciences and Professions
Total study hours 300
18 hours Assessment Preparation / Delivery
150 hours Guided independent study
72 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
60 hours Placement / study abroad
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 40%   Investigation
Coursework 60%   Report
Running in 2022/23

(Please note that module timeslots are subject to change)
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Thursday Afternoon
Year LMET Distance Learning Not applicable -
Year North Friday Morning

Module summary

This module introduces an enquiry-based approach to learning for both adults and children.  As early years’ practitioners, it is expected that students should be curious, autonomous learners, demonstrating reflective practice, critical thinking, problem solving and professional competence in supporting young children’s learning and development within an ever changing world. Such learning fosters a critical enquiry orientation which is central not only to academic studies, but to later workplace practice, where active engagement in the problem-solving process will be an essential professional tool.  The module offers sound theoretical and practice based knowledge of enquiry based learning, which allows students to evaluate and develop their professional effectiveness.

This core module enables students to:
 Understand the integrated nature  of enquiry-based learning  for adults and young children
 Consider the impact of enquiry-based learning on students and young children as lifelong learners
 Study key theoretical and pedagogical approaches in relation to enquiry-based learning.
 Engage in small scale enquiry in relation to practice.

Prior learning requirements

Enhanced DBS
Students are expected to undertake 60 hours work placement providing for children in the birth to six age range as part of this module, normally in a group setting.


This module will study the philosophical, pedagogical and theoretical aspects underpinning the stages and types of enquiry based learning, and the principles and characteristics of enquiry based learning in relation to adults’ and young children’s learning. 

The module will also explore the role of adults and children as learners in co-constructing knowledge and understanding through investigation and problem solving. It will focus on students identifying and investigating an area of practice using small scale enquiry to highlight their findings. LO1,LO2,LO3,LO4

Balance of independent study and scheduled teaching activity

For taught course students theoretical input will be through lectures and seminars. Online students will receive the same theoretical input through bespoke on-line module materials with access to an allocated tutor who is available to support them online as well as by e-mail or by telephone.

All students will benefit from a blended learning approach through the use of Web Learn for supplementary materials, links to E-books, on-line discussions and self-assessment exercises such as quizzes and reflective tasks.

Reflection and discussion are key to teaching for all students – for taught students this will be in the context of tutor-led sessions while for distance learning students reflection will be promoted by the exercises incorporated into the web-based materials.  For all students experiential learning promotes their growing ability to act as a reflective practitioner.

Teaching and learning strategies and methods also focus on workplace skills and professionalism. All students undertake and reflect on observations in the workplace and weekly tasks and reflective exercises support increased knowledge and understanding. Observations, action research, work-related tasks and the use of development planning tools support the growth of practitioners’ professional competence. 

The development of transferable skills in presenting evidence, arguments and points of view to a range of audiences, through a range of media, including the use of ICT also supports individual learning.

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students will be able to:
1. Demonstrate knowledge of enquiry-based learning and identify how this relates to practice in early childhood.
2. Describe, analyse and constructively critique pedagogical and theoretical perspectives on enquiry based learning
3. Analyse and evaluate enquiry based learning theory and research in the light of current issues.
4. Apply and evaluate methods of small scale enquiry practice including planning and the appropriate collection, analysis and presentation data

Assessment strategy

Assessment A:
Consider a small scale investigation on an aspect of practice

Assessment B:
An analytical report of practice based enquiry undertaken in assessment A.


Adimoto, A., Goodyear, P., Bliuc, A. and Ellis, R. (2013) Enquiry based learning in higher education: principal forms educational objectives and disciplinary variations, Studies in Higher Education 38, 1239 -1258.

BERA Ethical Guidelines for Educational research (2005)

Callan, S., & Reed, M., (eds) (2011) Work Based Research in the Early Years, London: Sage

Cooperrider, D., & Witney, D.,(2005) Appreciative Enquiry: A positive Revolution in Change, California: Brett Koehler

Coffman, T., (2017) Enquiry Based Learning, USA: Rowman & Littlefield
Thomas, G., (2013) How to do your research project: A guide for students in education (2nd eds), London: Sage

Deignan, T. (2009) Enquiry-based learning: perspectives on practice, Teaching in Higher Education, 14 (1), 13 – 28

Kuklthau, C.C., Maniotes, L.K., & Caspari, A.K. (2007). Guided enquiry:
Learning in the 21st century. Westport, CT & London: Libraries Unlimited.

Ovens, P., (2011) Developing enquiry for learning : reflecting collaborative ways to learn how to learn in higher education,  London : Routledge