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ERIC Number: EJ836030
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009
Pages: 30
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 64
ISSN: ISSN-0830-0445
Learning in Communities of Inquiry: A Review of the Literature
Rourke, Liam; Kanuka, Heather
Journal of Distance Education, v23 n1 p19-48 2009
The purpose of this study was to investigate learning in communities of inquiry (CoI) as the terms are defined in Garrison, Anderson, and Archer's (2000) framework. We identified 252 reports from 2000-2008 that referenced the framework, and we reviewed them using Ogawan and Malen's (1991) strategy for synthesizing multi-vocal bodies of literature. Of the 252 reports, 48 collected and analyzed data on one or more aspects of the CoI framework; only five included a measure of student learning. Predominantly, learning was defined as perceived learning and assessed with a single item on a closed-form survey. Concerns about the soundness of such measures pervade the educational measurement community; in addition, we question the validity of the particular items employed in the CoI literature. Bracketing these concerns, the review indicates that it is unlikely that deep and meaningful learning arises in CoI. Students associate the surface learning that does occur with independent activities or didactic instruction; not sustained communication in critical CoI. We encourage researchers to conduct more, substantial investigations into the central construct of the popular framework for e-learning and theorists to respond to the mounting body of disconfirming evidence. (Contains 2 tables.)
Canadian Network for Innovation in Education (CNIE). 260 Dalhousie Street Suite 204, Ottawa, ON K1N 7E4, Canada. Tel: 613-241-0018; Fax: 613-241-0019; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Information Analyses; Journal Articles
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A