Inquiry is “an act of asking for information” (http://www.google.com/#q=what+is+inquiry). In simpler terms you could just call it a question. When someone inquires something they are makings a formal investigation about what ever it is they are curious about. People inquire about things or people or places every day. “Inquiry is a dynamic process of being open to wonder and puzzlement and coming to know and understand the world” (http://galileo.org/teachers/designing-learning/articles/what-is-inquiry/). A common misconception is that Inquiry is thought of in terms of isolated situation or individual, when really it’s a broader concept.
Inquiry based learning is a way of learning or path to learning that starts with questions and concepts and is followed by facts and known information, rather than the other way around. Inquiry based learning was developed in the 1960s to go against stereotypical learning which involved memorization. Instead, inquiry based learning was proposed as a type or pedagogical method that would work as a type of constructive learning during the discovery learning movement, and there after.
Inquiry based learning is said to be education at its best. IBL is a concept that is used by elite teachers and educational programs all around the world. This is used by teachers, professors, students, math scholars, engineers, scientists, theorists, and by many other people in different fields of work. IBL is a progressive way of learning and an be used in almost any field of work since learning itself is progressive. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inquiry-based_learning).
A lot of times when people think about the word inquiry, or what inquiry based learning is, they have many common misconceptions. People do not always agree upon what these things really are. What some people think is that its just questioned learning and a different approach to looking into something. Others believe its to be conceptual and an act that requires some kind of administration or facilitation. From what I have come to understand inquiry and inquiry based learning reflect mostly upon the person using them. However, the general way I would explain inquiry is that it’s simply an act of questioning and curiosity beyond the normal consensus. In addition, inquiry based learning is a progressive learning technique that can be used by almost anyone in any field around the world. People use inquiry based learning every day without even realizing it (http://www.edu.gov.on.ca/eng/literacynumeracy/inspire/research/CBS_InquiryBased.pdf).