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In the last decade, the results of Physics Education Research and research-based instructional materials have been disseminated from traditional research universities to a wide variety of colleges and universities. Nevertheless, the ways in which different institutions implement these materials depend on their students and the institutional context. Even with the widespread use of these curriculums, the research documenting the effectiveness of these materials with different student populations is scarce. This paper describes the challenges associated with implementing Physics by Inquiry at California State Polytechnic University Pomona and confirms its effectiveness in promoting student conceptual knowledge of physics. However, despite the positive effect on student learning, the evidence suggests that the students did not appreciate the self-discovery aspect of the inquiry approach and characterized the learning process as difficult and unpleasant.
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