WebQuests: An online learning strategy to promote cooperative learning and higher-level thinking

Year: 2007

Author: Pelliccione, Lina, Craggs, Jim

Type of paper: Refereed paper

With an ever-increasing number of information and communication technologies being integrated into the classroom environment, educators are continually being offered new learning and teaching strategies. One such strategy has been the WebQuest. This instructional tool was designed as a vehicle to help transport students through a problem-based, cooperative learning environment, whilst encouraging higher-level thinking and providing links to appropriate Internet resources. The aim of this research was to identify whether WebQuests actually promote cooperative learning and high-level thinking in a typical primary school context and if so, how is this achieved. A qualitative approach was implemented, which included ongoing content analyses and a case study, involving observing and interviewing a group of year seven students. The key findings from this study identified that the WebQuest framework has evolved into a structure that not only promotes cooperative learning and higher-level thinking, but demands it. The WebQuest promotes cooperative learning by allocating individual roles to students and requires them to share their different results within a small group context. The study also revealed that higher-level thinking is embedded within the WebQuest model through a number of structural mechanisms.