Image of NASA logo.Classroom of the FutureTM

Promoting the Development of Inquiry-Based Learning Environments through the Virtual Design Center

Session One:


Session Two:
Learning Outcomes

Session Three:
Investigation Question

Session Four:
Acceptable Evidence

Session Five:
Supporting Articulation

Session Six:
Supporting the


Researchers at the NASA Classroom of the FutureTM (COTF) developed the Virtual Design Center to provide research-based educational technology design guidelines for educational researchers, teachers, and educational technology designers. The main purposes of the virtual design center are to:

  • Create a NASA resource for stimulating development of research-based instructional technology and classroom activities for scientific inquiry.
  • Share new knowledge about how learning theories can be applied to instructional technology and classroom environments for promoting scientific inquiry in K-12 students.

Researchers have demonstrated that inquiry learning enhances students’ attitudes toward science, science process skills, and scientific problem solving. In addition, these studies have suggested various principles for improving students’ scientific inquiry.

Although the results from these studies have yielded a rich collection of promising principles, a problem has existed—how can these principles contribute most effectively to practice? The results of this research have been presented as either too abstract or too open-ended to guide educators on how to apply the principles in a practical way. In addition, the use of the principles by educators has not been well explored. More attention needs to be paid to making the principles useful for educators.

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