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Learning presence within the community of inquiry framework: An alternative measurement survey for a four-factor model
Wertz, Ruth E.H. and Purzer, Şenay

PublishedNovember 2021
JournalThe Internet and Higher Education
Edition preprint
CountryUnited States

ABSTRACT
Within the distance education community, the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework is widely accepted as a framework to understand and design text-based learning environments. The framework includes three components: Cognitive Presence, Teaching Presence, and Social Presence. Recent work has proposed the addition of a fourth component, Learning Presence, which reflects students' selfregulation, and its role within the original framework. This study evaluated alternative structures of the CoI framework to explain student perceptions of learning online. The study participants (n = 256) were graduate students from multiple institutions who had taken at least one fully online course as part of their degree requirements. Survey data were collected using a single Likert-scaled survey instrument. A two-phase, sequential research study was conducted. The first phase included a series of confirmatory factor analyses to evaluate the measurement models of the four CoI constructs individually, followed by a model including all four constructs simultaneously. The second phase focused on testing three hypotheses that explore how the CoI constructs relate and interact with one another, which included: 1) a simple explanatory model, 2) a mediator model, and 3) a moderator model. These models were evaluated using path analyses and hierarchical linear regression analyses. Findings indicated that the while Social Presence acted as a mediator between the other CoI constructs when analyzed individually, mediation criteria were not met when all four constructs were included in the model simultaneously. In addition, Learning Presence did not have significant moderation effect in this study. Learning Presence was significantly related to the other CoI constructs, but not in a way that was well explained by the three hypothesized models; therefore, a post-hoc model was proposed. This manuscript makes unique contributions to the study of online learning environments through the CoI framework by introducing a comprehensive survey that includes Learning Presence indicators, producing evidence on the multidimensionality of the CoI constructs, and the strong relationship between Learning Presence and Cognitive Presence.

Keywords Learning presence · community of inquiry · Structural Equation Modeling

CoI focusFull model
MethodologyQuantitative
PopulationGraduate
Study designQuestionnaire
Data analysisStructural equation modelling
InstrumentModified CoI survey
ContributionEmpirical
Sample size256
Study aim"The objective of this study, the initial phase of our two-phase project, was to confirm the inter-relation of LP with the other three CoI factors"
Finding"Findings indicated that the while Social Presence acted as a mediator between the other CoI constructs when analyzed individually, mediation criteria were not met when all four constructs were included in the model simultaneously. In addition, Learning Presence did not have significant moderation effect in this study. Learning Presence was significantly related to the other CoI constructs, but not in a way that was well explained by the three hypothesized models; therefore, a post-hoc model was proposed."
LanguageEnglish
RefereedYes
DOI10.1016/j.iheduc.2021.100832
ExportBibTex · EndNote · Tagged XML · Google Scholar


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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.