Using WebQuest to Support Learning with Technology in Higher Education

by frances 9. February 2009 16:56

This article, in PDF format, by Ahmed Hassanien, [University of Wolverhampton, UK] was reported in the Journal of Hospitality, Leisure, Sport and Tourism Education, Vol 5, No 1.

The editor of this Journal, describes this paper the following way:

"In the first paper in this section, Ahmed Hassanien shares his experiences of Using Webquest to Support Learning with Technology in Higher Education. The paper presents an interesting reflective account of how to set up a Webquest. A Webquest’s defining features are that itis an inquiry-oriented, student-centred activity, where learning is encouraged from gathering and using information from Internet websites that have been nominated by the lecturer. Hassanien describes how an introductory Webquest was set up to support a research methods module - specifically onresearch philosophy - outlining a step-by-step approach to design and use. He incorporated a questionnaire aimed at evaluation and the findings from this show that students considered that theWebquest significantly enhanced their learning of research methods in Leisure, Tourism and Hospitality. Finally Hassanien offers useful tips for improvement, based on the trialling of his method."

This paper is a comprehensive review as to how WebQuest could enhance Higher Education [HE]. It was published in 2006. It is an academic paper so there are lots of relevant references eg. "Ester (1995) found that computer assisted instruction (CAI) and learning style can significantly improve student achievement and attitudes while decreasing necessary instructional contact times", if you are requiring research papers to engage with.



Some salient points:

"the concept [of WebQuests] has become very popular in the academic world. Ezell et al (2003) point out that webquests can be developed for various subject areas at different educational levels. They argue that the webquest is a technological tool, which is frequently being used to improve the quality of teaching and learning. Within the context of HE, the author believes that this type of technology has not been sufficiently used and there is room for further development. With a few appropriate modifications, Webquests can provide an effective instructional tool for university students. In order to introduce students to the challenge of webquests in HE, a multifaceted webquest activity was developed which is described and analysed in this article." (Hassanien, p.42)

Hassanien developed a questionnaire for one of his classes based on the research methodology and then created a WebQuest around qualitative and quantitive research methods.

Students were asked to evaluate the WebQuest and the findings were:

  • Most of the students (96 percent) found the webquest activity stimulating (66 percent strongly agreed,
    29 percent agreed) for their academic progress.
  • It is worth mentioning that none of the students answered ‘not important’ at the other end of the scale.
  • Moreover, most students agreed (62 percent strongly agreed and 35 percent agreed) that the activity sessions were relevant and useful.

Most students learned much more about the different research schools of thought than they might have if presented the information in a more traditional format. Students used the information they found when carrying out their own assignments. In other words, they used the formative assessment (the webquest) as a tool for their summative assessment.(p. 46)

There was mention of the limitations of using a WebQuest in Higher Education - that of students' inability on the Internet and, also that the WebQuest was squeezed into the module and therefore was not given enough time.

Unfortunately, although this paper gave a brilliant overview of the methodology used to present the WebQuest, there is no reference to the exact location of this WebQuest!

Sources & other Related Websites

1. Using WebQuest to Support Learning with Technology in Higher Education by Ahmed Hassanien

2. Problem-Based Learning at Central Queensland University and the Resources page

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Other WebQuest & Educational Blogs

As I come across other WebQuest Blogs (& Educational ones), I will list them here.

Jane Hart's Blog (Jane is a Social Technologies Guru in UK)

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Dr. Lisa Neal Gualtieri, Editor-in-Chief, eLearn Magazine

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Charlie Sullivan - Charlie does a fantastic job collating websites for Primary schools.

De Tools Blog

This blog by and for online educators and features free web based tools applications and resources. Author: John Goldsmith.

Bright Ideas: a blog by the School Library Association of Victoria

The Book Whisperer

This blog is written by Donalyn Miller, a 6th Grade teacher in Texas, who is reknown for encouraging students to read!


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