Exploring two theoretical frameworks

For my applied research project, my current question is how might the implementation of a Community of Inquiry framework impact a self-paced high-school online course? This is supported by four sub questions: ·       

  •   How might teaching methods be used differently to establish and nourish the three COI presences?
  •  How might the self-paced, asynchronous nature alter the COI framework?
  •  How might the establishment of a COI impact the emotions of a student?
  •  How might the varied age of learners influence the COI?

There are two theoretical frameworks that I am currently interested in researching more about. 

The first framework is Mobile Learning Theory. 

Due to my research being based on an online distributed learning environment, using mobile learning theory as my theoretical framework seems like it would be a good fit. Mobile learning can happen anywhere and at any time and can be broken up into three complexities: pedagogy, infrastructure, and communication (Franklin, 2011). Koole (2011) discusses how mobile learning is described by “the convergence of mobile technologies, human learning capacities, and social interaction” (pg. 25). Both of these definitions have similarities with a Community of Inquiry, and the three presences it is built around. Furthermore, by using this framework, I am already differentiating how my learning environment differs from that of a traditional classroom. 

The second theoretical framework I am interested in exploring is Self-Efficacy Theory. 

Self-efficacy is described as one’s perceived belief on whether they can be successful on a given task (Bandura, 1977). One’s self efficacy is related to their personal experiences, second hand experience, social persuasion, and physiological and emotional factors ( Bandura, 1977). Due to my students having varied experiences, and motivators for signing up for my courses, understanding self-efficacy and its impacts on learning will be helpful in understanding how different teaching methods could be tailored towards students. I am especially interested in the social persuasion, and physiological and emotional factors, as I feel they relate more to my research questions. 

As I continue to read more into these frameworks, I can see how they would relate to my research. I am just not sure if using two frameworks is wise? Having read my questions, is there another framework you think I should check out instead of one of these? 



Bandura, A. (1977). Self-efficacy: Toward a unifying theory of behavioral change. Psychological Review, 84(2), 191-215. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.84.2.191

Franklin, T. (2011). MOBILE LEARNING: AT THE TIPPING POINT. The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology Copyright  The Turkish Online Journal of Educational Technology, 10(261). Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ946635.pdf

Koole, M. L. (2009). Chapter 2: A model for framing mobile learning. In M. Ally (Ed.), Mobile learning: Transforming the delivery of education and training, (pp. 25–47). Edmonton, AB: AU Press

Gallagher, M. S. (September 20, 2010). Mobile learning illustration [image]. Retrieved from https://flic.kr/p/eTQjNw Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

6 thoughts on “Exploring two theoretical frameworks”

  1. Hi Amanda,

    Those seem like two really good options for theoretical frameworks. They are also quite different, and I could see each of them steering your research in different ways. For instance, the technology itself might come up more if your theoretical framework was Mobile Learning Theory than if you focus on self-efficacy theory. With regards to your question about applying two theoretical frameworks, I think its possible, but I think that the shorter length of the Applied Research Project as compared to a thesis might make it hard to apply two theoretical frameworks that are as different as Mobile Learning Theory and Self-Efficacy Theory. I think if you do decide to select both, you would want to be careful to not focus too much on the Theoretical frameworks and how they apply, as they could easily become the focus of the project.

    1. Hi Jessica,
      I agree moving to only one framework will probably help me narrow my research. This is my first time doing such a big research project, so I appreciate the feedback. Sometime to consider for sure,

  2. Hi Amanda, both your chosen Frameworks look like a good choice for your research area. I am leaning more towards the Self-Efficacy Theory because the Mobile Learning Theory is so close to the COI. I am wondering if the Self-Efficacy Theory would allow you to examine the effectiveness of a COI from the perspective of learner needs. You wrote “understanding self-efficacy and its impacts on learning will be helpful in understanding how different teaching methods could be tailored towards students”. I think examining student psychological, emotional and social needs with the help of Self -Efficacy Framework will allow you to determine which teaching strategies are best suited for which student group.

    1. Hi Anita,
      I appreciate you being honest and giving me your top pick. I do agree that Mobile Learning is pretty close to COI and therefore may not be the best pick. I think you are right, by using the self-efficacy framework, I could tie in to the different sub questions I have like the emotions of the students. It could also help with the different perspectives brought in by the different ages, as self-efficacy takes that into account.
      I really appreciate the feedback Anita,

  3. I’m really interested in your CoI selection as a theory to unpack your research.

    I especially am very interested in the discoveries you’ll make with CoI and one of your sub questions around the varied ages of learners and potentially … I’m assuming the degree of engagement, motivations and learning that surface in amongst the 3 presences within CoI; Social, Teaching, Cognitive with different age and generations.

    Do you feel / think that ones age may impact CoI and different strategies for instruction may be necessary for learning to be more effective for different ages and generations?


    1. Hey Dorothy,
      I am choosing to use COI as one of my main aspects that I am researching, so it wont be my Framework to say. However, I do think that different strategies will be needed for different age groups. Even if we just take social engagement, how younger students may choose to interact will be different than how mature students choose to interact. As well, what they choose to share with the course to make the connections will be different. However, from first hand experience, multi generational learning can be very powerful when done and facilitated correctly; however, that is something I have only seen with face to face classes. Currently my classes are multi-generational, but I do not think I am fully taking advantage of the options.
      Thanks for the comment Dorothy, I appreciate your question, you had me thinking for a bit.

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