A WebQuest is a purposeful and organised inquiry oriented activity, which utilises various key resources from the Internet (Dodge, 2007). It is a scaffolded learning structure that is carefully designed around a real life or hypothetical problem that students aim to solve. The creators of WebQuest’s Bernie Dodge and Tom March, propose that this type of authentic task promotes critical thinking skills to be used and developed (March, 2004).
A quality WebQuest should contain the following, to construct a guided framework that allows students scaffolding learning:
2. Focus question
8. Teachers page
It is important to allow students to work through these steps at their own pace. I feel that WebQuests are most effective when students are provided the opportunity to work in small groups, which aligns with Vygotsky’s theory, whereby, learning gains are made when students work with their peers (Nichols, 2007).
WebQuests are most beneficial when the author has carefully planned and structured the learning to cater for the students individual learning needs. This can take a lot of time to create, as learning managers need to ensure the required content, curriculum (Essential Learnings), a chosen KLA or a combination of Key Learning Areas are covered to meet intended outcomes for the cohorts diverse needs. Also like most learning technologies that allow students access to the Internet, it is vital that all safety precautions are taken to ensure students are not at risk of exposure to any inappropriate material. This can be achieved by testing all hyperlinks and downloading any video files into programs such as KeepVid.
Within my first year at university I completed a course in SOSE (Studies of Society and Environments). I worked with a friend to create our first WebQuest following the above guided framework. I learnt many new things making a WebQuest, it was fun and helpful to work with someone else as ideas were bounced between us and to complete such a large task more hands made the workload easier. I would highly recommend to try to make your own WebQuest or have a look at some others. Especially take a look at the teachers page this is where most of the information about curriculum and outcomes for learners are placed to assist learning managers.
WebQuests that allow students to solve, create solutions, possibilities for real life problems such as (focus questions like e.g. The Great Barrier Reef is in danger form extinction how can you help?, or How can you help stop pollution on our planet?) which facilities all aspects of Kearsley & Shneiderman’s(1999) Engagement Theory by students working in a group context, working on a project based task and having an authentic focus.
WebQuests are truly fantastic, they are a great tool for the classroom making research and assessment tasks fun and real for the digital natives of the twenty first century (Prensky,2001). As learning managers it is our role to spend the quality time planning, ensuring that learning outcomes can be achieved by all learners and that the site is easy to navigate, fun and safe for students to use.
Until next time,
Dodge, B (2007). Web Quests. Retrieved August 12, 2009 from, http://webquest.org/index.php
Kearsley, G., & Shneiderman, B. (1999). Engagement Theory.Retrieved August 12, 2009, from http://home.sprynet.com/~gkearsley/engage.htm
March, T. (2004).What WebQuests Are (Really). Retrieved August 12, 2009, from
Nichols, K. (2007). What is learning? Current knowledge and theories.R. Smith, D. Lynch, & B. A. Knight, Learning Management: Transitioning teachers for national and international change (pp. 21-29). Frenchs Forest, NSW, Australia: Pearson Education Australia.
Prensky, M. (2001). Digital Native, Digital Immigrants. On the Horizon , 9 (5), 1-6.