The Community of Inquiry makes use of cookies. By continuing, you consent to this use. More information.

A decade after the publication of the seminal article describing the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), we provided a personal perspective concerning its development and acceptance (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2010). This was included in a special issue of the Internet and Higher Education that looked back on the contributions of this work to online and blended learning (Swan& Ice, 2010). While most were familiar with the interdependent core elements or presences of the framework (social, cognitive and teaching), we thought it important to emphasize the generic nature of the framework that is grounded in traditional theories of teaching and learning consistent with Dewey's work on community and practical inquiry. In this regard, while the framework has been applied largely in online and blended learning environments, it should not be seen to be limited to such contexts.

After the first decade of its introduction, we were more than pleased with its evolution and growing acceptance. Clearly the timing of introducing a coherent framework just as the opportunities and benefits of online learning were emerging was crucial. Recognition of this work was also greatly enhanced because of another unforeseeable event, COVID-19. While online learning provided the opportunity for developing a coherent framework, COVID-19 perhaps provided a greater influence in its recognition and adoption. The CoI framework has been accepted as a means to understand and guide the practical application of online and blended learning; however, it is clear that the availability of the CoI survey instrument provided the means to expand both practical and theoretical research associated with the CoI framework and online and blended learning.

One of the first systematic reviews associated with the CoI framework was provided by Stenbom (2018). He focused on a review of papers that used the CoI survey to analyze data about the associated learning experience. Crucially, Stenbom found that the CoI survey provided valid and reliable results and was effective in examining learning experiences in a variety of contexts. This proved to be instrumental and supported our belief early on that an empirical instrument would greatly expand CoI research studying community of inquiry learning experiences. Interestingly, Stenbom (2018) observed that it was “necessary to expand the settings in which the instrument is applied in order to make more general claims about the nature of online and blended learning” (p. 28). I note this because it foreshadowed an important finding in the comprehensive, over two-decade, bibliometric review of CoI research discussed next.

The primary motivation for this editorial was the recently published comprehensive analysis of CoI research to date alluded to in the previous paragraph (Khodabandelou, Vahdani Asadi, Ghasemi & Amerian,2024). Unlike any study to date, Khodabandelou et al.(2024) thematically analyzed over 5000 records over the last 24 years to identify research themes across all types of publications in the current CoI research landscape. More specifically, the “study is an attempt to better understand the interdependence and relationships between and among the CoI components and to analyze the scientific production of CoI by using bibliometric analysis” (Introduction). The findings of the bibliometric analysis identified fields and topics of study such as “business studies, social and psychological aspects of computer-mediated studies, pedagogical and teaching methods related, present and emerging technologies, and cognitive and communication” (Discussion and conclusion). In addition, “research topics such as community of inquiry, research methods, affective domain, cognitive domain, and goal-related studies remain the main interests among CoI scholars” (Discussion and conclusion).

While I am pleased to note the interest in topics such as cognition and communication, it is my hope that this particular research interest will be extended into furthering the develop of our understanding and application of the Shared Metacognition construct (Garrison & Akyol, 2015). Shared metacognition goes to the core of the CoI framework in terms of collaborative inquiry and the monitoring and management of inquiry and the learning experience in an educational community. I have discussed this topic in several CoI editorials (;

The Khodabandelou et al. (2024) study provides a holistic view of the themes and topics with “insights into the nature and development of CoI research” (Discussion and conclusion). As stated by Khodabandelou et al. (2024), “The findings of this study provide substantial evidence that the model continues to be influential on many levels within the distance, blended, and online education community” (Discussion and conclusion). Moreover, this bibliometric review of CoI research found over 700 published articles and concluded that research in the CoI is growing and reveals an increasing importance of this work. While this is great news, I am particularly pleased to see the extent of the expansion in terms of its adoption and application across a variety of contexts. In conclusion, I want to acknowledge and thank all those that have contributed to this work and that it will continue to provide insights into collaborative constructivist approaches to learning such as understanding and capitalizing on the adoption of artificial intelligence ( 


Garrison, D. R., & Akyol, Z. (2015a). Toward the development of a metacognition construct for the community of inquiry framework. (Developing a shared metacognition construct and instrument: Conceptualizing and assessing metacognition in a community of inquiry). Internet and Higher Education,24, 66-71.

Garrison, 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), 87–105.

Garrison, R., Anderson, T. & Archer, W. (2010). The first decade of the community of inquiry framework: a retrospective. Internet and Higher Education,13(1–2), 5–9.

Khodabandelou, R., Vahdani Asadi, M. R., Ghasemi, M., & Amerian, M. (2024). More than two decades of community of inquiry research: A comprehensive bibliometric analysis. E-Learning and Digital Media, 0(0).

Stenbom, S. (2018). A systematic review of the Community of Inquiry survey. Internet and Higher Education, 39, 22–32.

Swan, K., & Ice, P. (2010). The community of inquiry framework ten years later: Introduction to the special issue. Internet and Higher Education, 39, 1-2, 1-4.



D. Randy Garrison
Professor Emeritus, University of Calgary
D. Randy Garrison is professor emeritus at the University of Calgary.Dr. Garrison has published extensively on teaching and learning in adult, higher and distance education contexts. He has authored, co-authored or edited fifteen books; 94 articles; 68 book chapters; 40 conference proceedings; and more than 100 academic presentations. His major books are: Garrison, D. R. (2017). E-Learning in the 21st Century: A Community of Inquiry Framework for Research and Practice (3rd Edition); Garrison, D. R. (2016). Thinking Collaboratively: Learning in a Community of Inquiry; Garrison, D. R., & Vaughan, N. (2008). Blended learning in higher education: Framework, principles and guidelines; Garrison, D. R., & Archer, W. (2000). A transactional perspective on teaching-learning: A framework for adult and higher education. Curriculum vitae


Community of Inquiry Research: Two Decades On
D. Randy Garrison
May 1, 2024
A decade after the publication of the seminal article describing the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison, Anderson & Archer, 2000), we provided a personal perspective concerning its development and

New book: The Design of Digital Learning Environments: Online and Blended Applications of the Community of Inquiry
Stefan Stenbom
January 31, 2024

Shared Metacognition and the Emergence of AI
D. Randy Garrison
November 1, 2023
Artificial intelligence brings increasing attention to critical thinking and discourse. From an educational perspective, my rationale is that the community of inquiry framework, whose

Social Presence Reconsidered
D. Randy Garrison
October 3, 2023
My previous editorial addressed the generic nature of the CoI framework. Given the relevance and validity of the CoI framework in face-to-face settings, this editorial considers the

CoI Framework in Face-to-Face Environments
D. Randy Garrison
August 1, 2023
I think it is safe to say that the general perception of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework is that it is specific to an online or at best blended learning environment. The reality
The Community of Inquiry is a project of Athabasca University, Mount Royal University, KTH Royal Institute of Technology, and the Canadian Journal of Learning and Technology, as well as researchers and members of the CoI community.