Inquiry-based learning introduces the concept that learning begins with the learner. The student directs the lesson while the teacher serves as the facilitator. One of the main ideas that direct inquiry-based learning is that neither the teacher nor the students know the answer. Students work collaboratively with the support of the teacher to explore answers to questions that the students have chosen. In inquiry-based learning the end result is not as important as the process.
Inquiry-based learning received enthusiastic support in 1996 with the development of U.S. National Educational Standards in Science. This called for “students to DO inquiry and to KNOW ABOUT inquiry (Wikipedia). This does not refer to science being taught with the idea of reaching a definite proven conclusion. Inquiry-based does not focus on the specific solution; inquiry-based focuses on the scientific method.
Many educators find fault with inquiry-based learning stating that there is no evidence that students learn more using this method (Kirschner, Sweller & Clark, 2006). With the adoption of NCLB, the emphasis in education shifted back to fact-based drills to prepare for standardized tests. With the renewed focus on reading and math, there appeared to be no need for the higher order thinking which is vital to inquiry-based learning.
Many educators believe in strongly-guided instruction. They want education to remain solely in the hands of the teacher (Kirschner et al., 2006). They want to see a curriculum that is “fact-based”. Inquiry-based is fact-based. Students must have required knowledge in order to develop good questions. Inquiry-based learning incorporates Bloom’s Taxonomy. Only as the student moves beyond the introduction of facts does he “personalize” his knowledge.
Other educators who are not supportive of inquiry-based normally site the problems of time constraints (Llewellyn, 2002). LLewellyn explains this as a myth stating that once the students understand the methodology involved, they show a greater interest and focus on learning using inquiry. It is difficult to argue about time when students are engaged and learning.
According to the Constructivist Learning Theory, “learning is an active process of creating meaning from different experiences. In other words, students will learn best by trying to make sense of something on their own with the teacher as a guide to help them along the way” (Brook & Brooks, 1993). This is what inquiry-based is all about: learning through your own experiences. Since inquiry-based is usually collaborative, you are not only learning from your experience but the shared experience of the group.

Resources:
Brooks, J.& Brooks, M.(1993). In search of understanding: The case for constructivist classrooms. Alexandria, VA: Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development.
Kirschner, P. A., Sweller, J., and Clark, R. E. (2006) Why minimal guidance during instruction does not work: An analysis of the failure of constructivist, discovery, problem-based, experiential, and inquiry-based teaching. Educational Psychologist 41 (2) 75-86
Llewellyn, D. (2002). Inquiring Within, implementing inquiry based science methods. Corwin Press: Thousand Oaks, California
http://www.lz95.org/MSN/faculty/jclemens/Myths%20About%20Inquiry%20Based%20Learning.pdf
http://www.thirteen.org/edonline/concept2class/inquiry/index.html
http://www.teach-nology.com/currenttrends/inquiry/

ll me“ and I forget, show me and I remember, "Involve me and I understand.”
–Tell me“ and I forget, show me and I remember,