"A real WebQuest is a scaffolded learning structure that uses links to essential resources on the World Wide Web and an authentic task to motivate students' investigation of an open-ended question, development of individual expertise, and participation in a group process that transforms newly acquired information into a more sophisticated understanding." (March, 2003).
Siemens (2004) states that "learning theories are concerned with the actual process of learning, not with the value of what is being learnt." This would suggest that the completion of an engaging and interesting WebQuest as a unit, would excel the learning outcomes in all students, as it focuses on 'their world' and uses authentic methods of instruction.
WebQuests aim to bring students together to solve an ill-structured problem that has no direct answer. Students collaborate their ideas after individual research and use a decision-making process to create a viable solution to the problem, often resulting in the construction of an authentic product. Cooperative learning - "its philosophical basis is that learners can gain by working together in small groups, and that they can be rewarded for their collective accomplishments." (Cruickshank, Jenkins & Metcalf, 2005).
After looking through the WebQuest "Freedom Fighter or Terrorist", designed by Tom March, it occurred to me that the creation of WebQuests would could become quite time consuming, ensuring that the content was relevant and appropriate, relating to the Essential Learnings and making it simple for students to navigate. Although, once the WebQuest was created, it would be accessible for future classes, the Learning Manager may need to change some aspects to suit the class needs.
Allowing students opportunities to work with their peers and at their own pace, develops higher levels of learning and social interaction.
Cruickshank, D.; Jenkins, D. & Metcalf, K. (2005). The Act of Teaching, 4th Edition. Boston: McGraw-Hill.
March, T. (2003). The Learning Power of WebQuests. [Electronic resource] (http://tommarch.com/writings/wq_power.php). Retrieved 19 August 2009.
Siemens, G. (2004). Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age. [Electronic resource]. (http://www.elearnspace.org/articles/connectivism.htm). Retrieved 19 August 2009.