Inquiry web-based learning to enhance information problem solving competences in science
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Early research on using web information indicates that secondary students fail to explore much web tools, use them naively and have serious difficulties to understand and integrate web information. In response to these challenges, the main goal of this research has been to design, implement and evaluate
an instructional approach that helps students learn from web information. We have developed on-line learning materials which focus on specific curricular contents and provide specific scaffolds to help students accomplish web-based tasks and develop specific information problem-solving competencies. These scaffolds have intended to give support to students involved in information-seeking activities as they were asked questions, searched for information, organised and assessed their findings, and created rich representations of their newly-constructed understandings. We have designed a one year long study to investigate the depth and accuracy of 127 secondary students, as regards their content understanding as well as their development of information problem-solving competencies when using on-line resources to solve instructional tasks. Our research demonstrates that the experimental group performed computer-based activities statistically better than the control group. Our findings also suggest that students were able to develop accurate and in-depth understanding from web information if they could appropriately use search and managerial strategies. This research lends evidence to questions regarding the value of students engaging in on-line inquiry web-based learning to enhance content understanding and to develop more efficient information problem-solving competencies in secondary education.