Empower Your Students with POGIL

Flinn Staff Scientist

Empower Your Students with POGIL 

In the ever-evolving landscape of education, innovative teaching methodologies continue to emerge, each designed to enhance student engagement and foster a deeper understanding of subject matter. One such methodology that demonstrates great success is POGIL, an acronym for Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. This student-centered approach places learners at the forefront of their education, encouraging collaboration and critical thinking. Throughout this article, we will delve deeper into the key elements of the POGIL pedagogy and shine a spotlight on POGIL expert and American Chemistry Society HS Chemistry Teacher of the Year, Laura Trout, who is revolutionizing education at Lancaster Country Day School. 

What Exactly is POGIL? 

POGIL classrooms are sites of a unique learning environment where students work in self-managed teams, with the instructor serving as a facilitator rather than a traditional source of information. NGSS-aligned activities, following a learning cycle paradigm, are the backbone of POGIL. These activities possess three fundamental characteristics: they are intended for self-managed teams, guide students through exploration for understanding, and use discipline content to develop essential plarocess skills. 

Key Elements of the POGIL Pedagogy include:  

Student-Centered Learning 

POGIL classrooms feature small, self-managed teams working on guided inquiry materials. The instructor becomes a facilitator, allowing students to participate in the learning process. 

Development of Process Skills 

POGIL goes beyond content mastery, emphasizing the cultivation of crucial process skills. Students engage in an interactive process of refining their understanding, preparing them for the challenges of the workplace. 

Inquiry-Based Team Environment 

Instruction in POGIL classrooms is inquiry-based, encouraging critical thinking and teamwork. Instructors observe and address individual, team, and classroom-wide needs, providing feedback. 

POGIL in the Classroom with Laura Trout - POGIL Expert, Author, and Facilitator 

With a passion for student-centered learning, Laura Trout has seamlessly integrated POGIL into her teaching practice, creating an environment that fosters curiosity, collaboration, and critical thinking. As a POGIL expert, Trout plays a pivotal role in guiding students through the multiple steps of the learning cycle. Her approach involves activities that not only convey discipline content but also stimulate higher-level thinking. Through carefully crafted questions, Trout leads her students on a journey of exploration, enabling them to construct their understanding of complex concepts.  


Across all levels – from general to Advanced/AP, Trout's POGIL classroom is characterized by dynamic interactions, where students actively contribute to their own learning. By emphasizing teamwork and critical thinking, she cultivates a sense of empowerment among her students, encouraging them to take ownership of their learning. 

POGIL resources provide students with data or other information to interpret. And guiding questions are strategically designed to lead students toward formulating their own valid conclusions, essentially mirroring the scientific method. POGIL activities go beyond rote memorization, emphasizing the application of knowledge in new and diverse contexts. This approach prepares students for real-world challenges where adaptability and critical thinking are essential. 


Expanding on the POGIL Process

Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning (POGIL) represents a paradigm shift in education, prioritizing student engagement, critical thinking, and skill development along with acquisition of content knowledge. Trout's passionate work in her high school chemistry classroom displays the transformative power of POGIL. As we continue to advance educational teaching methodologies, guided inquiry stands out as a successful initiative of student-centered learning and is ideal to prepare the next generation with the essential skills that will be needed to meet the challenges and opportunities of the future.  


Want to learn more about POGIL? Login to your FLINN PAVO account and navigate to the Professional Learning Tab on your dashboard to view the webinar. Then visit Flinnsci.com to order your POGIL books and POGIL.org to learn more about the process, register for POGIL workshops, and read research and results.