5E Instructional Model: Everything You Need To Know

Last Updated on October 3, 2023 by Editorial Team

Do you find it challenging to engage your students during lessons and ensure they retain the information well? If you are struggling with ineffective lesson preparation, the 5E instructional model might be the solution you need. Just like the drill and practice method and the co-teaching method, the 5E model is also a unique teaching approach designed to promote student engagement and understanding through five distinct phases.

 In this article, we’ll explore what the 5E model is, how it works, and its potential benefits and challenges you face. We’ll also provide some tips on how to effectively implement this teaching model, along with the latest research supporting its effectiveness. 

Let’s dive into the 5E instructional model approach!

Basics behind the 5E instructional model approach

The 5E Model was developed in 1987 by the Biological Sciences Curriculum Study with the vision to make a way to encourage collaborative learning and active learning in the classroom. Today, It is majorly used in science education and involves students working together to solve problems and explore new concepts through questioning, observation, analysis, and drawing conclusions.

This popular framework emphasizes collaborative problem-solving and investigation. 5E behind the model consists of five phases: Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate.

To begin, in the Engage phase, teachers use stimulating activities, questions, or discussions to capture students’ attention and curiosity. Next, the Explore phase allows students to investigate a concept or phenomenon, make observations, and develop hypotheses. 

In the Explain phase, teachers provide explanations, concepts, and definitions to support student understanding. Then, the Elaborate phase provides opportunities for students to extend their knowledge through more complex and challenging activities, projects, or discussions. 

Finally, the evaluation phase assesses students’ understanding and progress through formative and summative assessments. With this approach, the 5E Model has become a go-to method for educators looking to promote active learning and engagement in their science classrooms.

Exploring the advantages of the 5E instructional model

5E model can provide various benefits for both students and teachers to make the learning experience effective and fun too!

1. Active learning:

The 5E model makes the learning approach an adventure that allows students to actively engage in the learning process. They get to explore concepts and ideas through hands-on activities, which can be an effective strategy to promote active learning. One example is taking students to the science lab to explore the microscopic world and make observations about what they see for various science lessons.

2. Student-centered:

The model is all about putting the needs and interests of the students at the center of the learning process. This means that the teacher acts as a facilitator rather than a lecturer, guiding students through their own learning journey. For instance, in a social studies class, students may be asked to research a particular historical event or figure and then present their findings to the class. The same can be done with a bunch of manipulatives to make the session interesting. 

3. Flexibility:

The 5E model is also flexible and can be adapted to a variety of subjects and learning styles. This means that teachers can tailor their lesson plans to the specific needs of their students. For example, in a math class, the teacher may use manipulatives or games to help students understand complex concepts.

4. Enhances critical thinking:

  It promotes critical thinking and problem-solving skills by requiring students to ask questions, analyze data, and draw conclusions. For example, in an English class, students may be asked to analyze a literary text and draw conclusions about the character’s motivations or give curious writing topics or prompts to students

5. Long-term retention:

5E model can lead to long-term retention of information because it helps students build a deeper understanding of the concepts. For instance, in a music class, students may be asked to compose their own piece of music, which requires them to apply their knowledge of music theory and notation or use some music manipulatives for small kids to explore.

Some challenges you might face with the 5E approach

The 5E approach can have a few challenges during its application as well. Here are a few challenges with examples you might face in different subjects:

1. Time-consuming:

Implementing the 5E model can be time-consuming as it requires careful and thorough planning and preparation of a lesson. For example, in a science class, the teacher may need to set up experiments and gather materials in advance.

2. Limited content coverage:

Some educators argue that the 5E model may not cover as much content as other instructional models because it focuses on the depth of understanding rather than the breadth of knowledge. For instance, in a history class, the teacher may not be able to cover as many historical events or figures as they would with a more traditional instructional model with lectures and reading only.

3. Requires skillful teaching:

Effective implementation of the 5E model requires skillful teaching and facilitation, which may be challenging for inexperienced teachers. For example, in a language arts class, the teacher may need to provide guidance and support as students work on creative writing assignments.

4. Not suitable for all learners:

The 5E model may not be suitable for all learners because some students may prefer a more structured approach to learning. For instance, in a math class, some students may prefer to learn through lectures and practice problems.

5. Assessment challenges:

The 5E model can pose challenges for assessment because it may be difficult to evaluate the learning outcomes of each individual student due to the variability of the learning experience. For example, in a physical education class, it may be challenging to assess each student’s individual progress in mastering a particular skill.

Strategies to implement in the 5E instructional model

Here are some possible strategies for implementing the 5E instructional model:

1. Establish clear learning goals:

Before starting any lesson, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you want your students to achieve. Make sure your learning goals are specific, measurable, and aligned with your curriculum standards.

2. Engage students in exploration:

The first phase of the 5E model is “Engage,” which means capturing students’ interest and curiosity. Try to create activities that are hands-on, interactive, and relevant to students’ lives.

3. Provide opportunities for inquiry:

In the “Explore” phase, students are encouraged to ask questions and investigate a concept or phenomenon. Provide them with resources and materials to support their inquiry and help guide them toward a deeper understanding.

4. Use multiple modes of representation:

In the “Explain” phase, it’s important to present information in a variety of ways to support diverse learning styles. Use visual aids, demonstrations, discussions, and written materials to help students make connections and build understanding.

5. Encourage application and extension:

In the “Extend” phase, students are given opportunities to apply what they’ve learned in new and meaningful ways. Try to design activities that encourage creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration.

5E instructional model: How effective is it?

Many findings on the 5E instructional model support its effectiveness in promoting student engagement, understanding, and achievement. These findings suggest that educators who adopt the 5E model can help their students build a strong foundation of knowledge and skills that will serve them well in the years to come.

Research on the 5E instructional model has shown promising results in terms of student engagement, understanding, and achievement. The 5E instructional model has been the subject of several studies, and the results have been overwhelmingly positive. One such study, published by Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education[1], found that the 5E model led to significantly better acquisition of scientific conceptions than traditional instruction. The study suggests that the 5E model’s emphasis on inquiry-based learning and hands-on exploration may be more effective in helping students grasp complex scientific concepts.

Another study[2], published in The International Journal on New Trends in Education and Their Implications, also found that the 5E learning cycle model positively affects student achievement and the permanence of knowledge. The study suggests that the 5E model promotes deeper learning by encouraging students to engage in critical thinking, collaboration, and problem-solving.


Teachers can use the 5E instructional model in a variety of ways to enhance student learning. The model is designed to be flexible and adaptable, which means that teachers can tailor it to their specific needs and goals. One common approach is to use the 5E model to design a lesson or unit from start to finish, following the five distinct phases of Engage, Explore, Explain, Elaborate, and Evaluate. This can help teachers ensure that their lessons are well-structured, engaging, and focused on student-centered learning.


  1. Balci, S., Cakiroglu, J., & Tekkaya, C. (2006). Engagement, exploration, explanation, extension, and evaluation (5E) learning cycle and conceptual change text as learning tools. Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Education, 34(3), 199-203. https://doi.org/10.1002/bmb.2006.49403403199
  1. Tuna, A. & Kaçar, A. (2013). The effect of 5E learning cycle model in teaching trigonometry on students’ academic achievement and the permanence of their knowledge. Educational Sciences: Theory and Practice, 13(4), 2527-2534. http://ijonte.org/FileUpload/ks63207/File/ijonte._2013.1.complete.pdf#page=80 

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