A Review of Literature within the Community of Inquiry Framework: Creation of a Model for Effective Asynchronous Online Discussion

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Rachel Lindberg
Rhonda Douglas Brown, Ph.D.


Educators may use asynchronous online discussion (AOD), a technology-supported tool for student-centered discussion, which allows them to review, reflect, and write in-depth posts at a time most convenient for their needs.  In this way, the design of online discussions can impact student motivation and perceived academic self-efficacy.  Student motivation to participate in online discussion may be impacted by preferences for text- or audio-based communication, either of which may be supported in open, public forums or private learning management systems.  To encourage participation and promote learning outcomes, educators may facilitate discussions or appoint students to lead peer-driven discussions.  Effective AOD should support a community of inquiry, in which social, cognitive, and teaching presences interact to create deep and meaningful learning opportunities for students.  This article examined commonly used AOD formats within a community of inquiry theoretical framework.  A systematic review of the literature was conducted to understand the effects of post format, program type, and facilitation type on perceived academic self-efficacy within a community of inquiry framework.  Synthesis of the literature resulted in a theoretical model of effective AOD design, which may help educators support particular aspects of a community of inquiry and positively impact student motivation and perceived academic self-efficacy.

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