Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI)

Community of Inquiry Framework (CoI)

The Community of Inquiry (CoI) concept was used first by early pragmatists C.S. Peirce, John Dewey and Jane Addams, about the knowledge construction and the process of scientific inquiry. In 2000, Garrison, Anderson, and Archer proposed a CoI model for educational developers to assist in the organisation of online and blended educational experiences. The original intention was to ‘provide a heuristic understanding and a methodology for studying the potential and effectiveness of computer conferencing (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2010). According to Garrison et al. (2010) the Community of Inquiry (CoI) is a theoretical framework for the optimal design of online learning environments to support critical thinking, critical inquiry, and discourse among students and teachers. Educational models help educators to apply the findings of education research to the practical task of curriculum design, development and sequencing of educational experiences to optimise learning (Cooper, T. & Scriven, R., 2017).

The Community of Inquiry (COI) model (Fig 1) describes how learning takes place for a group of individual learners through the educational experience that occurs at the intersection of social, cognitive and teaching presence.

Social Presence. The ability of participants to identify with the community (e.g., course of study), communicate purposefully in a trusting environment, and develop interpersonal relationships by way of projecting their individual personalities.
Cognitive Presence. The extent to which learners are able to construct and confirm meaning through sustained reflection and discourse in a critical community of inquiry.
Teaching Presence. The design, facilitation and direction of cognitive and social processes for the purpose of realizing personally meaningful and educationally worthwhile learning outcomes.

In the following years, CoI framework became the basis for a substantial number of studies (Befus, 2016). A number of researchers have been trying to improve the framework by modifying or adding more presences. Other researchers have been preoccupied with tangential issues such as student satisfaction with e-learning or techniques or measuring communicative action.
Shea & Bidjerano (2010) proposed a new CoI Framework with a new added presence: Learner Presence (Fig. 2). Anderson (2017), one of the original creators of CoI framework agrees with the new added presence. Garrison (2018) states that separating responsibilities of teacher and learner (participants are both teacher and learner in a truly collaborative learning experience) violates the integrity of the framework. This fusion of teaching and learning is not easy to get one's mind around but is central to Dewey's philosophy.


Anderson, T. (2017). How communities of inquiry drive teaching and learning in the digital age.        Contact North. Available from:

Befus, Madelaine K. (2016). A thematic synthesis of Community of Inquiry research 2000 to 2014. Available from

Cooper, T., Scriven, R. (2017). Communities of inquiry in curriculum approach to online learning: Strengths and limitations in context. Australasian Journal of Educational Technology, 33(4), 22-37.

Garrison, D.R., Anderson, T., Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education Internet and Higher Education, 2 (2–3) pp. 87-105

Shea, P., Hayes, S., Smith, S. U., Vickers, J., Bidjerano, T., Picket, A., Gozza-Cohen, M., Wilde, J. & Jian, S. et al. (2012). Learning presence: Additional research on a new conceptual element within the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. Internet and Higher Education, 15(2), 89-95.

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