Online Learning Era - Part 1

Online Learning Era - Part 1

07 Jul 2022

WIDE Services

News & updates from WIDE Services

View Profile

This informal CPD article is Part 1 of “Online Learning Era” provided by Vasilis Palilis, director of WIDE Training Academy of the WIDE Services company.

The article has 4 parts.

1. In the first part, "Community of inquiry", we discuss the process of empirical or conceptual inquiry into problematic situations.

2. In the second part, " Connectivism”, we discuss how knowledge is distributed in a network of connections through the use of technology.

Let’s focus on the 1st part.

Community of inquiry

The foundations for the community model of inquiry were laid back in the late 1800s by the philosopher Charles Peirce. Peirce explained how to approach issues using scientific methods instead of opinions.

The popular analogy is the parable "The blind and the elephant" which helps us understand the concept of inquiry community. Each man examines a different part of the elephant's body and believes he has recognised what it is. According to Pierce, communication, collaboration and the application of the scientific method will enable people to approach the elephant and create a shared knowledge that will be as accurate as possible.

Another important philosopher who contributed to the development of the community of inquiry framework is John Dewey. Dewey further extended Pierce's belief on the important role of the community when working towards a common goal. Dewey considered two fundamental elements -schools and civil society- as major issues that needed attention and reconstruction to encourage experimental intelligence and pluralism.

Online Communities of Inquiry

These ideas were applied to online learning contexts by a group of researchers from the University of Alberta, led by Randy Garrison, Terry Anderson, and Walter Archer. The purpose of their Framework was to provide conceptual order and a tool for Computer-mediated communication to support the educational experience. It contains the elements involved in creating a constructivist learning experience.

Social presence

The first of these elements is social presence. Social presence is the ability for individuals to interact with the learning community as their real selves, communicating and collaborating in an accepting environment with other members of the community.

Cognitive presence

Cognitive presence is the ability of learners to construct their knowledge and confirm it through engagement and reflection. This includes forming ideas, connecting ideas, and applying new ideas.

Teaching presence

The final element is teaching presence. Teaching presence involves the design, direction, and facilitation of materials to stimulate both the cognitive and social processes.

Teaching Presence Categories / Subcategories

Design & Organization Direct Instruction

  • Setting curriculum
  • Designing methods. Establishing time parameters
  • Utilizing the medium effectively
  • Establishing netiquette 

Direct Instruction

  • Presenting content
  • Focusing the discussion
  • Summarizing the discussion
  • Confirming understanding
  • Diagnosing misperceptions

Facilitating Discourse

  • Identifying areas of agreement or disagreement
  • Seeking to reach consensus and understanding
  • Encouraging, acknowledging, and reinforcing students contributions
  • Setting the climate for learning
  • Drawing in participants and prompting discussion

Combining these elements we have:

  • the setting of the community's climate
  • regulating learning and
  • supporting the discourse of the learners

Together the social, cognitive, and teaching presence constitute the educational experience. We hope this article was helpful. For more information from WIDE Services, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please go to the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

WIDE Services

WIDE Services

For more information from WIDE Services, please visit their CPD Member Directory page. Alternatively please visit the CPD Industry Hubs for more CPD articles, courses and events relevant to your Continuing Professional Development requirements.

Want to learn more?

View Profile

Get industry-related content straight to your inbox

By signing up to our site you are agreeing to our privacy policy