Designing Online Learning Communities

M. Cleveland-Innes, J. Hawryluk

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


Higher education course design is moving increasingly toward constructivist, collaborative approaches for higher-order learning. A community-based approach to learning fits both this type of pedagogy and preferred learning outcomes related to critical thinking and metacognition. This is particularly necessary when moving such learning online, and the need for a community is even more important for engagement and motivation than in-person learning, where community and connection is often created organically. Online learning communities can be effectively created using the community of inquiry theoretical framework, as it intentionally makes space for learners to express their teaching, social, and cognitive presences. To support the design of effective online learning experiences, how each presence fits into the constructivist and inquiry-based approaches is explained in this chapter. As well, applications are suggested. Finally, assessment approaches are provided that are in line with the tenets of constructivism, inquiry-based learning, and hence the community of inquiry.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHandbook of Open, Distance and Digital Education
Number of pages17
ISBN (Electronic)9789811920806
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan. 2023


  • Community
  • Community of inquiry
  • Inquiry-based learning
  • Online learning


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