Community of Inquiry - Tools for Indigenous Learning Circles Infographic

Community of Inquiry – Tools for Indigenous Learning Circles Infographic

An effective Community of Inquiry is created through facilitation; as Vaughn et al point out; “Of all aspects of the Community of Inquiry framework, the activities of facilitation are the most critical; facilitation manages the overlap between all three presences and is at the core of the dynamics of a community of inquiry”(Vaughn et al, 2013). The three presences that Vaughn et al refers to are; Teaching Presence, Social Presence, and Cognitive Presence (Vaughn et al, 2013). This infographic suggests ways in which all three presences may be achieved. What is important to note is that these presences may be built not only by the Instructor, but that these learning environment factors are the shared responsibility of all facilitators within the classroom – virtual or not – and that the facilitator may not be solely the class Instructor, but may also involve students/participants themselves.

Working as a community is foundational to Indigenous Peoples. Learning within Indigenous Communities may also take on the form of community-mindedness, and very effective Learning Communities may be created within the community. Creating an effective Learning Environment where Communities of Inquiry may flourish within the greater community is an effective use of community within Adult Education.

Bringing these pre-existing qualities of community that are borne from the Indigenous Community at large into the Learning Community builds out the strength of Indigenous Learning Communities, and in turn Communities of Inquiry that exist within these Indigenous Learning Circles. Building on the strengths of Indigenous Communities also creates a familiarity for the participants (including the Facilitator) and builds Social Presence, which can lead to moving the Community closer to deeper learning, passing through “social presence to cognitive presence and into deep and meaningful learning” (Vaughn et al, 2013).

I have brought in Indigenous Educational sources and paradigms. Ceremonies are bedrocks for Indigenous Peoples, and create familiarity for Indigenous students and provides grounding to Mother Earth and the Spiritual realm. I included Blanket ceremonies and Smudging Ceremonies as examples of ceremony that would help build community and shows respect and honors Indigenous Ways-of-Knowing. The Instructional Designer needs to make appropriate choices in terms of witnessing these Indigenous values.


Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, D. R. (2013). Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry. Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from