Academic journal article Adult Learning

The Community of Inquiry and Emotional Presence

Academic journal article Adult Learning

The Community of Inquiry and Emotional Presence

Article excerpt

Abstract: The community of inquiry (COI) model identifies elements which are fundamental to a successful online learning experience, namely, teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence. The model has received empirical support as a useful framework for understanding the online learning experience. A limitation of the model is its understanding of emotional presence which, according to the COI model, is seen solely in terms of emotional expression, which, in turn, is a part of social presence. Emotional intelligence would support a much broader role for emotional presence in learning and embrace to a larger extent how emotions play out in the learning process, than singularly "emotional expression" in the original COI framework. Thus, the article first presents a conceptualization of emotional presence in terms of emotional intelligence. Second, it discusses the relationship of emotional presence to teaching presence and how teaching presence may foster emotional presence in learners. Finally, how emotional presence in teaching presence may foster social presence and cognitive presence in learners and lead to successful learning is presented.

Keywords: adult learning, adult education, online learning, emotional intelligence, community of inquiry

Introduction

The community of inquiry (COI) model is based on the perspective that complex, deeper level learning occurs through a community of learners who participate in reflective thinking and discussion, especially in the online classroom (Garrison, Cleveland-Innes, & Fung, 2010). The importance of the COI model lies in its identification of three overlapping elements which are critical to a successful online learning experience: teaching presence, cognitive presence, and social presence (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2010; Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007). The model has received considerable empirical support as a framework for understanding critical components of the online learning experience (Arbaugh et al., 2008; Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007).

In the COI model, emotional presence is understood in terms of emotional expression which is part of social presence (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2010; Garrison & Arbaugh, 2007). However, the role of emotional presence in learning appears to go beyond emotional expression and includes motivational and affective experiential elements such as self-efficacy, openness, expanded self-awareness, heightened receptivity to others, and an enhanced ability to manage high arousal emotional states which are prevalent in learning (Conway, Tugade, Catalino, & Frederickson, 2013; Dirkx, 2008; Gunnlaugson, 2011; Kang, Liew, Kim, & Park, 2014; Kestly, 2016; Lawrence, 2012; Pekrun & Stephens, 2010; Shea & Bidjerano, 2010; Zembylas, Theodorou, & Pavlakis, 2008).

A construct that may help to further an understanding of the role of emotional presence in learning is emotional intelligence. Emotional intelligence has been found to have a positive relationship with academic success in university students, constructive conflict management which is important to more complex learning, and desired project outcomes (Ahmed & Rana, 2012; Lanciano & Curci, 2014; Morrison, 2008; Pope, Roper, & Quaker, 2012; Trejo, 2016). Thus, this suggests its important role in learning design and facilitation. Also, emotional intelligence can be trained (Nafuhko, Muyia, Farnia, Kacirek, & Lynham, 2016). Emotional intelligence would support a much broader role for emotional presence in learning and embrace to a larger extent how emotions play out in the learning process, than singularly "emotional expression" in the original COI framework. Thus, the aim of this article is to introduce a model of COI that conceptualizes emotional presence as emotional intelligence and to present pedagogical applications of this. Specifically, the article will first discuss the concept of emotional intelligence as emotional presence in learning. …

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