24 Garrison and Arbaugh, “Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions”


Garrison, D. R., & Arbaugh, J. (2007). Researching the community of inquiry framework: Review, issues, and future directions. The Internet and Higher Education, 10(3), 157–172. doi: 10.1016/j.iheduc.2007.04.001


The Community of Inquiry framework is an instructional framework that gives three main areas including; cognitive presence, social presence and teaching presence and the interactions to create the educational experience. This framework has guided online class environments. The types of online learning has changed and become more complex, the article provides evidence of change needed as well as possible modifications to highlight more effective methodology to future online learning. Garrison, Arbaugh believe that after analysis these presences become transactional and not all three presences are occurring at the same time. There is little research analyzing all three presences simultaneously therefore the results focus on each element of the framework individually.

Key points

  • Community of Inquiry Framework
    • Social presence, teaching presence and Cognitive presence are evaluated individually due to a lack of examinations of pieces simultaneously
      • affective expression, open communication and group cohesion
      • activities that encourage social interaction increases learner satisfaction with learning experience.
      • Instructor role is vital to facilitate application of learning beyond the exchange of information with  the organization of course and interaction with learners.
      • Clear expectations and modeling are needed to be successful.
  • Issues for further research include:
    • Each piece of the framework influences the others but how much and where are the emphasizes?
    • Lack of quantitative research to support


Creating a class climate of inquiry is a best practice for both face to face and online educators. The Community of Inquiry framework is a valuable resource that needs some refining to help educators better understand the impacts of teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence has in a learning environment.

Discussion questions

  1. How does media (videos, images, etc.) impact cognitive presence?
  2. As a learner, what aspects of your courses do you find valuable? Why?

Additional resources


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