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Adult Learner > Strategies > Explicit Instruction: Internet Search

Explicit Instruction: Internet Search


Teaching learners how to effectively search the internet is critical for helping them learn how to find accurate and relevant information and aids in developing information literacy. Learners need to learn to draw upon their Background Knowledge to frame a good research question, generate associated vocabulary, and create a search string that will bring up relevant information. Since an internet search requires sorting through extensive pieces of information, this task can be heavy on learners' Working Memory. Teaching adult learners search skills such as utilizing quotation marks, asterisks, and connecting words can help alleviate that load, as well as build a Learner Mindset for research. This skill is especially important to teach explicitly since just letting the learners explore does not help them make the mental connections necessary to search effectively, and this can be frustrating for them.

Use It In Your Learning Environment

Instructors can host internet workshops where students can practice effective internet searching skills by locating specific pieces of information before evaluating these sources. They can use more play-based activities such as webquests or more directly useful exercises such as integrating search skills as a part of a real-world project to teach these skills. Techniques such as modeling the generation of keywords through think-alouds, using graphic organizers to organize and brainstorm keywords, and even using the thesaurus to find alternate keywords can be useful ways to scaffold the search process while also fostering other academic skills and building stamina for the process.

Products can help students explore the features of search engines by letting them experiment with different search strings before figuring out which works best for their goals. Additionally, providing screencast tutorials may help students search the internet more effectively.

Factors Supported by this Strategy