Online information problem solving. An overview of the strategies used by 8- to 13-year-old students in French-speaking Belgium



In French-speaking Belgium, one of the new missions of the teacher will be to develop learners' information skills, namely their skills in searching, evaluating, and using information on the web. But do teachers know the strategies used by their students to adapt their teaching interventions? The aim of this study is to provide an overview of the different strategies used by 8 to 13 year old students when searching online. To achieve this objective, we use the IPS-I model and a methodology based on the analysis of the actual practices of 260 primary and secondary school students. Our results show that almost all of the students tested are novices in information retrieval. They do little or no research planning, use basic strategies, never check the reliability and relevance of the information they find and do not cite the sources used. These findings, in the light of previous empirical research on online search behaviour, allow for reflection on educational interventions and provide recommendations for educational practice.

Full Text:



Brand-Gruwel, S., Wopereis, I., & Walraven, A. (2009). A descriptive model of information problem solving while using internet. Computers & Education, 53, 1207-1217.

Brante, E. W., & Strømsø, H. I. (2018). Sourcing in text comprehension: A review of interventions targeting sourcing skills. Educational Psychology Review, 30(3), 773-799.

Boubée, N., & Tricot, A. (2010). Qu’est-ce que rechercher de l’information ? Villeurbanne, France: Presses de l’ENSSIB.

Cardon, D. (2019). Culture numérique. Paris: Presses de Sciences Po.

Degraux, X. (2019). Les Belges et le digital : Mobile, Internet et réseaux sociaux. Retrieved from

Dinet, J., Chevalier, A., & Tricot, A. (2012). Information search activity: An overview. European Review of Applied Psychology, 62(2), 49-62.

Dumouchel, G. (2016). Les compétences informationnelles des futurs enseignants du Québec sur le Web. Thèse de doctorat, Université de Montréal, Canada.

Druin, A. (2009). Mobile technology for children: Designing for interaction and learning. Morgan Kaufmann.

Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles. (2022). Formation manuelle, technique, technologique et numérique. Bruxelles: Fédération Wallonie-Bruxelles.

Fives ,H., & Dinsmore, D. (2017). The model of domain learning: Understanding the development of expertise. New York : Routledge.

Fleury, P. (2016). Comment montrer aux élèves à faire de bonnes recherches sur le Web. Montréal, QC: Chenelière éducation.

Fournier, H. (2007). Stratégies de recherche et de traitement de l’information dans des environnements informatiques et sentiment d’efficacité́ personnelle des futurs enseignants à l’égard de ces stratégies. Thèse de doctorat, Université du Québec, Montréal, Canada.

Fraillon, J., Ainley, J., Schulz, W., Friedman,T., & Gebhardt E. (2014). Preparing for life in a digital age: The IEA International Computer and Information Literacy Study international report. Heidelberg, Allemagne: Springer Open.

Gwizdka, J., & Bilal, D. (2017). Analysis of children's queries and click behavior on ranked results and their thought processes on Google search. In Proceedings of the 2017 conference on human information interaction and retrieval (pp. 377-380). New York City: ACM.

Hämäläinen, E. K., Kiili, C., Marttunen, M., Räikkönen, E., González-Ibáñez, R., & Leppänen, P. H. T. (2020). Promoting sixth graders’ credibility evaluation of Web pages: An intervention study. Computers in Human Behavior, 110, 106372.

Head, A. (2013). Project Information Literacy: What can be learned about the information-seeking behavior of today’s college students? In D. M. Mueller (Dir.), Proceedings of the ACRL 2013 Conference (pp. 472-482). Chicago, IL: ACRL.

Issa, N., Schuller, M., Santacaterina S., Shapiro M., Mayer R., & DaRosa, D. (2011). Applying multimedia design principles enhances learning in medical education. Medical Education, 45, 818-826.

Jochmann-Mannak, H., Huibers, T. W. C., Lentz, L., & Sanders, T. (2010). Children searching information on the Internet: Performance on children's interfaces compared to Google. In Workshop on Accessible Search Systems 2010 (pp. 27-35). Geneva, Switzerland. Retrieved from

Kafai, Y., & Bates, M. (1997). Internet Web-searching instruction in the elementary classroom: Building a foundation for information literacy. School Library Media Quarterly, 25(2), 103-111.

Koot, U., & Hoveijn, M. (2005). Google, de magische antwoordmachine. Pedagogiek in Praktijk, 11, 18-22.

Kumps, A., Temperman, B., & De Lièvre, B. (2022). A decision tree approach to predict the online information search performance of 8-13 year old students in french-speaking Belgium. Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 21(1), 1-17.

Lecomte, J. (2019). Il y a fakenews et fakenews…Et différentes « raisons » de les relayer. Retrieved from

Macedo-Rouet, M., Potocki, A., Scharrer, L., Ros, C., Stadtler, M., & Salmerón, L. (2019). How good is this page? Benefits and limits of prompting on adolescents’ evaluation of Web information quality. Reading Research Quarterly, 54(3), 299-321.

Merrill, M. D., & Twitchell, D. (1994). Instructional design theory. Educational Technology Publications

Renkl, A. (2014). Toward an instructionally oriented theory of example-based learning. Cognitive Science, 38, 1-37.

Rinck, F., & Mansour, L. (2013). Littératie à l’ère du numérique : Le copier-coller chez les étudiants. Linguagem em Discurso, 13(3), 613-637.

Rouet, J., Ros, C., Goumi, A., Macedo-Rouet, M., & Dinet, J. (2011). The influence of surface and deep cues on primary and secondary school students' assessment of relevance in Web menus. Learning and Instruction, 21, 205-219.

Salmerón, L., Macedo-Rouet, M., & Rouet, J.-F. (2016). Multiple viewpoints

increase students' attention to source features in social question and answer forum

messages. Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology, 67,


Salmerón, L., Strømsø, H. I., Kammerer, Y. A. K., Stadtler, M., & van den Broek, P. (2018). Comprehension processes in digital reading. In M. Barzill, J. Thomson, S.

Schroeder & P. Van den Broek (Eds.), Learning to read in a digital world (pp. 91-120). John Benjamins Publishing Company.

Simonnot, B. (2007). Évaluer l'information. Documentaliste-Sciences de l'Information, 44, 210-216.

Smahel, D., Machackova, H., Mascheroni, G., Dedkova, L., Staksurd, E., Olafsson, K., & Liningstone, S. (2020). EU Kids Online 2020. New European study on children and the internet in 19 countries. Retrieved from

Sullivan, D. (2015). Google still doing at least 1 trillion searches per year. Retrieved from

Vanderschantz, N., Hinze, A., & Cunningham, S. J (2014). Sometimes the internet reads the question wrong: Children's search strategies & difficulties. In Proceedings of the American Society for Information Science and Technology, 51(1). Retrieved from 10.1002/meet.2014.14505101053.

Walraven, A., Brand-Gruwel, S., & Boshuizen, H. (2008). Information-problem solving: A review of problems students encounter and instructional solutions. Computers in Human Behavior, 24(3), 623-648.


View Counter: Abstract | 152 | times, and PDF | 26 | times

Re S M ICT E | ISSN: 1792-3999 (electronic), 1791-261X (print) | Laboratory of Didactics of Sciences, Mathematics and ICT, Department of Educational Sciences and Early Childhood Education - University of Patras.

Pasithee | Library & Information Center | University of Patras