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What is POGIL? 

POGIL is an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. It is a student-centered, group-learning instructional strategy and philosophy developed through research on how students learn best. 

What is POGIL?  

POGIL is an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. Because POGIL is a student-centered instructional approach, in a typical POGIL classroom or laboratory, students work in small teams with the instructor acting as a facilitator. The student teams use specially designed activities that generally follow a learning cycle paradigm. These activities are designed to have three key characteristics:

  • They are designed for use with self-managed teams that employ the instructor as a facilitator of learning rather than a source of information.
  • They guide students through an exploration to construct understanding.
  • They use discipline content to facilitate the development of important process skills, including higher-level thinking and the ability to learn and to apply knowledge in new contexts. 

What is POGIL?

The POGIL approach has two broad aims: to develop content mastery through student construction of their own understanding, and to develop and improve important learning skills such as information processing, communication, critical thinking, problem solving and metacognition and assessment. 

Key Elements of the POGIL Pedagogy 

A POGIL classroom consists of students working in small, self-managed teams on specially designed guided inquiry materials. 

These materials supply students with data or information to interpret, followed by guiding questions designed to lead them toward formulation of their own valid conclusions—essentially a recapitulation of the scientific method.

POGIL focuses on developing process skills in addition to mastering course content.

POGIL is an interactive process of refining one’s understanding and developing one's skills for the workplace as a component of the student learning process. The ability to engage in these processes is crucial for students to succeed in active learning environments.

Instruction in a POGIL classroom is student-centered.  The instructor serves predominantly as a facilitator of student learning.

In a POGIL classroom, the instructor observes and addresses individual, team, and classroom-wide needs. This inquiry-based team environment energizes students and provides instructors with instant and constant feedback about what their students understand and misunderstand. Students quickly learn that logical thinking and teamwork are prized above simply getting the “right” answer. The characteristics of a POGIL classroom are described here.

Cameron Rutledge '16 | Franklin & Marshall College
[With POGIL], not only do I retain the information, but I get to teach other people, which reinforces what I’m learning.

Cameron Rutledge '16

Franklin & Marshall College

How to Learn More About POGIL 

Become a POGIL Practitioner
If you would like to become a POGIL practitioner, the best way to get started is to attend a POGIL workshop. Click below for more information on workshops and for ways to engage with The Project.
Request a Workshop
We want to help instructors make their classrooms and laboratories more student-centered. Our workshops are the most common ways for people to begin.