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What is a Webquest?

A webquest is defined as "an inquiry-oriented activity in which some or all of the information that students interact with comes from resources on the Internet." This focus on inquiry is designed to lead the student to operate at the higher level thinking skills of analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Bernie Dodge, assisted by Tom March, developed the model for WebQuests in 1995 at San Diego State University. 

WebQuests contain six critical attributes including an introduction, task, description of the process, information sources, evaluation, and conclusion. It generally is used for group activities and can include role-playing. It involves either single discipline or interdisciplinary units.

There are two types of WebQuests. Short-term projects are designed to take between one and three class sessions. The instructional goal is the acquisition and integration of knowledge. The student is exposed to a significant amount of new information and must make sense of it. Long-term projects are designed to take between one week and one month. The instructional goal is extending and refining knowledge. The student has to analyze a body of knowledge in depth, transform it, and then demonstrates understanding by presenting it in some way. 

How Do I Create a WebQuest?

A WebQuest presents students with a challenging task or problem to solve. The information sources presented in the webquest should require the learners to evaluate the relevance and importance of the content as it relates to the given task. Usually students would begin by learning some common background material and then be divided into groups. Each student in the group has a role or task to master. Basically, they become experts on one aspect of the topic. When the students come together, they summarize their findings to complete the project. Outlined below are the essential elements of a WebQuest based on the model created by Bernie Dodge.

WebQuest Outline


  • Should orient and prepare the student for what is coming
  • Should raise some interest in the project through a variety of methods

  • Includes a description of what the student will complete at the end of the project
  • It could be a product or verbal presentation
Description of the Process
  • Clearly explains the steps involved in the project
  • Lets the student know the process needed to complete the task
  • Can also provide learning advice for the process
Information Sources
  • A list of web pages which the instructor has located that will help the student complete the task
  • A list of other available resources (not necessarily web-based)
  • Need to be measurable results
  • Evaluation rubrics designed by the teacher are the most authentic assessment
  • Rubrics may take different forms
  • Bring closure to the WebQuest
  • Remind the students what they have learned
  • Encourage students to extend their experience into other areas

Design steps for teachers

  • Become familiar with different types of resources in your content area
  • Organize the resources into categories to keep the student organized and focused
  • Identify topics that will fit with the curriculum and can be researched online

See the Resources page for additional information relating to today's topics.

Clip art licensed from the Clip Art Gallery

Building Blocks of a WebQuest

My Teacher Tools collection of webquests