The role of learners’ epistemic beliefs in an online Community of Inquiry

Kun Huang, Victor Law, Sang Joon Lee

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


The Community of Inquiry (CoI) model provides a lens to examine online learning through three elements: teaching presence (the design and facilitation of learning experiences), social presence (the extent to which learners project themselves as real people) and cognitive presence (the extent to which learners are able to construct meaning through inquiry and reflection activities). While research to date has established the importance of these essential presences in online learning environments, recent research on the CoI model calls for the need to explore the role of learner characteristics. The current study responded to the call by examining the role of learners’ epistemic beliefs (EB) (ie, individuals’ fundamental beliefs about the nature of knowledge and knowing) in an online CoI. Multiple linear regressions analyses revealed that EB moderated the relationship between learners’ perceived teaching presence and cognitive presences. Future studies on CoI should take learners’ epistemic beliefs into consideration, especially in the case of low teaching presences. Theoretical and practical implications for designing and investigating online learning are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1882-1895
Number of pages14
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Technology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 British Educational Research Association.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education


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