As a college educator in the non-traditional academic field of skilled trades, very few of my classes are hosted on-line. These courses tend to focus on in-class, hands-on, experiential learning opportunities. When developing on-line or blended learning classes for this specific group of learners, consideration must be given to their learning preferences. In my experience, skilled trades students tend to prefer active learning and may struggle within a traditional academic learning environment. A Community of Inquiry (CoI) is a collaborative group of learners whom construct meaning and understanding through reflection and critical thinking (Garrison, Anderson & Archer (2003). Although a CoI is a non-traditional choice in skilled trades education, the benefits to the learner are the same as those in a traditional academic learning environment.
I developed this infographic to support faculty with implementing a CoI in skilled trades education. It lists a variety of strategies and considerations to successfully implement a CoI in a blended or on-line course inspired by Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2003), Khoo and Bonk (2014), Van Schie (2008) and Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes and Garrison (2013).
The CoI framework is comprised of three components: social, cognitive and teaching presence. While I identified alternate headings, each of the components is represented. Garrison, Anderson and Archer (2003) define social presence as the learners ability to connect to others in a meaningful and safe environment. Strategies to support social presence could include inspiring connections and relationships between learners while encouraging communication and allowing a community to develop through the use of on-line tools such as video introductions, discussion threads and communication applications.
Cognitive presence is the learners ability to explore, construct and apply knowledge gathered through reflection and interaction with the community (Anderson, 2018.) Cognitive presence could be developed through encouraging the learner to ask questions while inspiring curiosity, exploration and critical thinking skills.
Teaching presence refers to the “…design, facilitation and direction of cognitive and social processes…” while guiding the learner and community to meet the learning outcomes (Anderson, Rouke, Garrison & Archer (2001). Facilitators can support learners through effective learning design, appropriate choices of technology, and by providing guidance. Additionally, facilitators can provide options to how learners gain knowledge and demonstrate their understanding. Both learners and facilitators can strengthen the teaching presence as learners can assist in knowledge sharing with their peers.
If we inspire, encourage and support learners through the use of a CoI, a collaborative and effective community of learners will be developed.
Anderson, T. (2018). How Communities of Inquiry Drive Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age. Contact North.
Anderson, T., Rourke, L., Garrison, D. R., Archer, W. (2001). Assessing Teaching presence in a Computer Conference Environment. Journal of asynchronous learning networks, 5(2), 1-17.
Garrison, D. R., Anderson, T., & Archer, W. (2000). Critical inquiry in a text-based environment: Computer conferencing in higher education model. The Internet and Higher Education, 2(2-3), 87-105.
Garrison, Anderson & Archer. (2003). A theory of critical inquiry in online distance education. In More & Anderson, Handbook of Distance Education. (p. 113-127).
Khoo, E. G., & Bonk, C. J. (2014). Chapter 1: Introducing TEK-VARIETY (PDF) (pg 7-12). Adding some TEC-VARIETY: 100+ activities for motivating and retaining learners online (PDF). Open World Books.
Van Schie, J. (2008). Concept map of community of inquiry. Retrieved from http://cde.athabascau.ca/coi_site/documents/concept-map.pdf
Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Chapter 3: Facilitation