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In this paper we make the case that online learning continues to grow at a rapid rate and that understanding this innovative mode of education requires analysis that is both conceptually and empirically driven. This study inquires into the concept of cognitive presence a multivariate measure of significant learning derived from the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework (Garrison et al. in Am J Distance Educ, 15(1): 3–21, 2001). The CoI framework conceptualizes online knowledge building as a result of collaborative work among members in learning communities characterized by instructional orchestration appropriate to the online environments (teaching presence) and a supportive and collaborative online setting (social presence). We present results of a study of 5,000 online learners to attempt to further validate the CoI framework and articulate the relationships among the constructs within it. Utilizing cluster analysis we propose that the three forms of presence that characterize the CoI framework can be understood through an equilibrium model and that this model has important implications for the design of online instruction and the success of collaborative online learning.
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- Cognitive presence and online learner engagement: a cluster analysis of the community of inquiry framework
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