Cycle of Effective Online Personal Learning

Over my years as a teacher, and as an educator that spends a lot of time looking at technology, I have continually tried to come up with a simple model of how students should use the Internet to help themselves learn through researching. I guess the current model I have ended up with will work for anyone, not just students. In putting this together I have tried to reflect each of the steps in the learning/research process, included traits of information literacy, considered the effects of social networking, and mixed in the power of the read/write process.

I feel the need to document this model and try to find a model that outlines the process of learning from online sources because the Internet is a dynamic system where new information is being created at a rate never seen before in history and existing content continues to change and mature. This rapid proliferation of free information is lowering the value of factual information and is putting more of a priority on the speed at which one can access reliable information and then use it by connecting information with other knowledge to solve authentic problems. Most of the time people undergo this process on their own, and many students enter the process with little instruction or modeling. Finding appropriate sources initially, keeping track of ongoing changes, and being able to quickly retrieve vetted information when needed are the components that build the cycle of effective online research. The tools that enable online research are search engines, content, social bookmarks/networks, and RSS aggregators. The digram graphically demonstrates this process.

I doubt this is the final iteration of this model, but I am pretty happy with Version 1. I am open to ideas or suggestions for making it better.


  1. This is a great model / image of the process that is taking place. The only confusion I have is the Find Information to use and then bookmark.

  2. Scott,

    I was trying to incorporate social bookmarking in the diagram.



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