Design and plan learning activities and/or programmes of study
How students learn, both generally and within their subject/disciplinary area(s)
Use evidence-informed approaches and the outcomes from research, scholarship and continuing professional development
Imagine you're exploring a new land of knowledge. Guided discovery-based learning is like having a knowledgeable guide with you on this adventure. This guide gives you a map with clear directions and points out important spots to explore. They're like a friendly mentor, showing you the way and giving you helpful hints as you travel. This type of learning is structured and organized, helping you uncover new things step by step.
On the other hand, unguided discovery-based learning is a bit more adventurous. It's like setting out on your own to discover hidden treasures. You're like a curious explorer using your wits and creativity. Instead of someone handing you a map, you're making your own path by trying things out, experimenting, and stumbling upon insights. You become both the investigator and the adventurer, finding your way to the treasure trove of knowledge.
Meta-analytical findings show that discovery-based learning that was guided positively benefitted learning (➕➕➕), versus different instructional approaches (including unguided and explicit instruction) . Unguided/unassisted discovery-based learning (e.g., where students were left to their own devices) markedly harmed learning relative to explicit instruction (➖➖➖) . Discovery-based learning approaches were particularly well suited for adult learners, rather than those who are <18 years old , likely due to cognitive load associated with this type of active learning. Moreover, learning domains that were geared toward motor/physical skills, verbal/social skills, computer-based skills, mathematics, and science demonstrated positive effects on student learning when guided discovery-based approaches were used .
The evidence comes from a good quality (➕➕➕) meta-analysis that included a substantial number of learners (>25,000 participants) . There is likely some risk of bias in the primary studies included in this review and the heterogeneity score suggests some unexplained variations in the findings.
 Alfieri, L., Brooks, P. J., Aldrich, N. J., & Tenenbaum, H. R. (2011). Does discovery-based instruction enhance learning? Journal of Educational Psychology, 103(1), 1-18. https://doi.org/10.1037/a0021017