Learning Exercise

Building an Online Learning Environment Using WebQuests

Developing a WebQuest assignment is an effective activity to engage the learner in the learning process. A WebQuest is a type of online learning assignment that requires learners to use the Internet to locate, analyze, and synthesize information. This assignment guides the learner through a process that will result in an effectively designed WebQuest.
Course: Blackboard Basics: Building an Online Learning Environment

Bernie Dodge of San Diego State University developed the idea of WebQuests to teach students how to effectively use the... see more


A WebQuest: An Inquiry Activity to Enhance Student

A WebQuest is an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the

that learners interact with comes from resources on the Internet. A learner

analyze a body of knowledge found on the Web, transform it in some way,

demonstrate an understanding of the material by creating something that

can respond to on- or off-line. It represents a new teaching paradigm created

Bernie Dodge, Professor of Educational Technology at San Diego State


The MERLOT free and open resource at www.merlot.org links to online

learning materials that are collected along with annotations, such as peer

and assignments. Bernie Dodge's WebQuest site is linked on the MERLOT

collection so you can have easy access to contact information.


A WebQuest is a type of online learning assignment that requires learners
to use

the Internet to locate, analyze it, and synthesize information. There are
two types

of WebQuests: short-term and long-term.

In a short-term WebQuest, the instructional goal is simply knowledge acquisition

and integration. Each student obtains and processes a significant amount
of new

information from the Web and in-school materials and makes sense of it

by creating Web pages.

In a long-term WebQuest, the instructional goal increases one level, challenging

students to extend and refine the knowledge they find online and in the
real world.

Each student deeply analyzes a body of knowledge, integrates it into their

knowledge base, and demonstrates their understanding by presenting it to

class in the form of Web pages. Long-term WebQuests can take weeks or

months to complete.

The Task

Your task is to design and develop an effecitve WebQuest online learning

assignment for your students. To develop effective WebQuests, you need

develop a thorough understanding of the different possibilities open to
you as you

create web-based lessons. One way for you to understand how to develop

effective WebQuest assignment is to complete the following tasks.

        • analyze critically a number of webquest examples and discuss them 
          from multiple perspectives,

        • review some WebQuest training materials on the Web,

        • define the specific components of an effective WebQuest,

        • design your own WebQuest,

        • share your online WebQuest assignment with others for their feedback.

The Process

      Your first step in creating a WebQuest of your own should be to review
      a few examples of successful ones with your colleagues. Find two other
      colleagues who will work with you to create a collaborative team to complete
      the process detailed below.

To begin your WebQuest, link to the WebQuest about WebQuests site

listed below and complete the task detailed there. Be sure to select a

recorder from the members of your group. Record your group's respones

to the task detailed in the WebQuest about WebQuests located at


Next, visit the Introduction to Web Based Learning site and review the

contents as a team. Discuss what you agree and disagree with in the

contents on the site.

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As a team, define in writing the Building Blocks of a WebQuest after

reviewing the site.


Now each member of the team choose a topic for your WebQuest after

reviewing the site and discussing your topic ideas with your team.


Finally, complete a flowchart of your WebQuest that you will be

developing on your topic for your students.

Share your flowchart with your group members for their feedback.

Relevant Internet Resources




Your completed WebQuest will be evaulated using the following criteria

focus on quality of content, usefulness as a teaching/learning tool, ease
of use,

organization, and mechanics:

      • The WebQuest explores valid concepts, models, and skills by specially and
        thoroughly developing the content to meet the requirements specified.

      • The WebQuest can be readily integrated into current curriclum and pedagogy
        within the displine.

      • The WebQuest is easy to navigate.

      • The WebQuest is effectively organized, coherent, and flows smoothly.

      • The content in the WebQuest conforms to the rules of standard English.


      Take five minutes to jot down the conclusions you have drawn about
      using such an inquiry method in one of your classes. Share what you wrote
      with your colleagues in your group.



Technical Notes

Need to have Internet access, use of a browser, and use of web editing software.


Experience using a web editor to create web sites.

Learning Objectives

To analyze critically a number of webquest examples and discuss them from multiple perspectives; to review some WebQuest training materials on the Web; to define the specific components of an effective WebQuest; to design your own WebQuest; to share your online WebQuest assignment with others for their feedback.