Learner Presence Matters: A Learner-Centered Exploration into the Community of Inquiry Framework
Keywords:community of inquiry, learner presence, online MBA
In the present study we explored the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework, a theoretical structure identifying processes leading to effective online learning, within one particular learning context. Drawing from research supporting the significance of three presences—teaching, social, cognitive presence—we add to a line of research on a potential fourth presence, learner presence. We employed a mixed-method approach to investigate learner perceptions, thoughts, and actions in MBA online/blended courses. Stimulated recall interviews with individual learners regarding their course experience highlighted three qualities of the learners’ presence in their courses: intentions, metacognition, and peer monitoring. They also pointed to ways in which certain facets of the three CoI presences supported these qualities. The findings prompted questions for further CoI research investigating learner presence and suggested implications for learner-centered course design and online instruction.
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