How to Implement Discovery Learning in Your Classroom


Discovery learning involves allowing learners maximum freedom within a resource-rich environment to discover answers to disadvantages. It requires learners to build upon background knowledge and utilize resources available in the environment to increase their knowledge base. Discovery learning is usually juxtaposed with instructor-centered approaches, as learners are not told all the information; instead, they must discover knowledge for themselves.


  • Learners generate knowledge for themselves rather than being told what is right and wrong.
  • By discovering the facts, learners will have a firmer comprehension of the reasoning behind why something is real.


  • Too much learner freedom may distract learners from their goals.
  • This can be a time-consuming technique as learners uncover information and learn at their own pace. It can, therefore, be challenging to implement in school districts that are packed with curriculum outcomes that must be met.


  1. The instructor places the appropriate resources in the classroom to allow learners to discover knowledge and skills.
  2. The instructor transparently presents the lesson objectives to the learners (e.g., “What is heavier—sand or water?”).
  3. Learners are given minimal guidance but sent to the learning stations to try to answer the prompt  themselves.
  4. The instructor provides minimal guidance, recognizing that making mistakes and trying the wrong thing is also a part of the discovery experience.
  5. Learners get together at the end of the class to discuss what they discovered.
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