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Making the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework ‘actionable’

Thanks Thomas and my fellow academics for this public online Community of Inquiry under the #EDUC90970 Subject. I am not immediately used to the level of exposure to so many public online platforms, and will need some time to adapt a boundary of information sharing. But this is certainly an important and necessary exercise toward developing an expanded professional identity in the public domain. 

Community of Inquiry (CoI)

This theoretical model of community of inquiry (CoI) was brought to my awareness by this Subject #EDUC90970 Facilitating Online Learning. I found it an interesting and applicable concept. As in project management research I was considering how to frame project learning and whether ‘community of practice’(CoP) or ‘community of interest’ (CoIn) was a better framework for the project field. Here comes a third concept, CoI, which is more learning oriented. If we set them in a spectrum of formality of learning, the CoI is of the most formalised learning where a top-down structuring intervention is indispensable. 

The CoI model was initiated by Garrison et al (2000) which consists three key overlapping elements: social, cognitive and teaching presence. At the centre of the model where all the three elements are present is the authentic educational experience. Social presence means personal presence of the members of the CoI. Cognitive presence means  a sensemaking process within the learners. Teaching presence means the presence of a top-down intervention in terms of guidance and structuring on the dynamics of the CoI. Overall these concepts are not very clearly defined in terms of whose action but they were made operable and measurable through the subsequent studies and development of a scale through factor analysis (Garrison et al 2004). Garrison and Arbaugh (2007) provided a comprehensive review of the studied based on this framework. The concepts and the sub-concepts produced through their overlaps are illustrated by the authors with the following diagram:

Figure 1. The Community of Inquiry Framework (taken from Garrison 2007, p.62)

In trying to make sense of this education framework in the context of teaching practice, I attempt to re-construct this CoI framework into the following diagram to have some clarity on what we can do with this framework:

Figure 2. An actionable reconstruct of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (adapted from Garrison et al 2000, Garrison 2007 by the Author)

More elaboration will follow in the next post.


Garrison, D. R. (2007) Online community of inquiry review: social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues, Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11(1), 61-72.

Garrison, D. R. and Arbaugh, J.B. (2007) Researching the community of inquiry framework: review, issues, and future directions, Internet and Higher Education, 10, 157-172.

Garrison, D. R., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Fung, T. (2004). Student role adjustment in online communities of inquiry: Model and instrument validation. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 8(2), 61−74.

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


Published by Andrea O'Learning

student #EDUC90970 Facilitating Online Learning. This blog is part of my assignment and personally an experiment to try out if I would like to run a public blog.

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