KWL at work

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Recently I wanted to revisit a library book I had borrowed a long time ago.  Not thinking I would use the book again, I had kept no information about it.  A technique called KWL saved the day.

I’ll start with the K, what I already knew about the book.  I could only remember that:

  • The book concerned adult education
  • The book focused on Switzerland
  • The author’s last name began with a D
  • The book had an orange cover

Let’s move to the W, what I wanted to know.  In this case I wanted to know the author and/or title.  An URSUS keyword search for “adult education” yielded too many hits.  When I added “Switzerland” as a search term, though, I had a more manageable list.

From there we get to the L, what I learned.  I recognized the author’s name, Pierre Dominicé.  An author search yielded the title Learning from our Lives, the one I was seeking.

Ogle  (2009) gives a better description of KWL than I just did (She would, as she developed the technique.), and she suggests alternative techniques.  I’m also using KWL for a very basic question.  All the same I’m glad to illustrate it in action.


Dominicé, P. (2000). Learning from our lives: Using educational biographies with adults. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.

Ogle, D. (2009). Creating contexts for inquiry: From KWL to PRC2. Knowledge Quest, 38(1), 56-61.

P.S.  The Lewiston copy of Learning from our Lives does indeed have an orange cover.