Posted by Mauro Mocerino, on Oct. 5, 2021, 3:04 p.m.


POGIL (Process-Oriented Guided-Inquiry Learning, pogil.org) is a teaching method that develops student process skills at the same time as using guided inquiry to build discipline knowledge. In a POGIL classroom, students work on specially designed guided inquiry activities in small groups. Within the small groups (typically 3-4 students) each student is assigned a role to ensure each student is fully engaged in the process.  Typical roles include, manager, recorder, spokesperson and reflector and these are rotated during the semester to ensure all students have the opportunity to develop the skills linked to the roles.  See moe information at https://pogil.org/about and see the video there:

The POGIL activities are designed around the learning cycle of Exploration, Concept Invention and Application. In the activities the students are provided with data or information and asked leading questions to guide them in the interrogation of the data provided (the Explore stage). The students are then guided to find trends, summarise and/or draw conclusions (the Concept Invention stage).  Finally they are asked to apply their understanding to new, but related, scenarios (the Application stage). 

POGIL develops process skills such as data analysis, problem solving and critical thinking. It also develops the generic skill such as team work and written and oral communication skills.  The development of these skills helps students become lifelong learners and prepares them to be more competitive in a global market.

A large number of resources and activities have already been developed and are commercially available. Description of these resources can be obtained from https://pogil.org/resources/curriculum-materials/classroom-activities  and short list of some of the topics is given below:

  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • General, Organic, and Biological Chemistry
  • Analytical Chemistry: Instrumental Analysis Collection
  • Analytical Chemistry: Quantitative Analysis Collection
  • Foundations of Biochemistry
  • General Chemistry
  • Quantum Chemistry & Spectroscopy
  • Physical Chemistry: Thermodynamics
  • Calculus I
  • Organic Chemistry
  • POGIL Activities for High School Chemistry

A number of studies implementing a POGIL approach to university chemistry courses have shown positive results, indicating that student achievement is improved with POGIL activities (Schroeder and Greenbowe, 2008) and that students not only found topics more enjoyable to learn but could also participate in in-depth discussions of the concepts covered in the course (Paulson, 1999).


  • Paulson, D. R., (1999), Active learning and cooperative learning in the organic chemistry lecture class, J. Chem. Educ., 76, 1136-1140.
  • Schroeder, J. D.; Greenbowe, T. J., (2008), Implementing POGIL in the lecture and the Science Writing Heuristic in the laboratory - student perceptions and performance in undergraduate organic chemistry, Chem. Educ. Res., 9, 149-156.


Original author: Mauro Mocerino

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