I explored Communities of Inquiry but I think I've come to the realisation that I'm mixing up terms and definitions that are relevant in the academic and educational context with the workplace/corporate learning and development environment. I call them "Guided Social Learning Experiences" aligned with Jane Hart's definition because they make more sense to situations of workplace learning - and less "academic speak". I think what surprised me this week was that I immediately thought of how CoI can be used in a business sense and discounted how the L&D teams could help here. I think the reason is that in my experience, I have been helping L&D teams with the concept of adding "social" and the connectivist aspect to their training. Their focus is still on "content' and less on "people learning from each other, with each other" so part of me doesn't believe (sadly) that they are ready to act as "teachers" in Communities of Inquiry until they too have experienced what it's like to be and learn socially.
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- I just posted these (very much half-baked) thoughts on Helen's blog post. I'm now seeing all of these great comments over here as well so even more to think about.
Thought I'd post here too.
Helen -- I really wish you had been in the MSLOC conference room today when we were pondering similar questions about the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework. The CoI framework has been most often used to design and measure formal, structured online learning classes which explains the academic/school language that you are reacting to. I do, however, think it is an interesting model to have in the mix as we think about how to design social learning communities. Mostly because it can help us step back and think about the various elements that need to go into the design and care and feeding of social learning communities — Cognitive Presence, Social Presence and Teaching Presence according to this framework. I think this is just one more lens through which to view social learning as you have pointed out — you have already been working on creating communities of inquiry.
It has been extremely useful to share the CoI framework with faculty in our masters program as a way to inform course design, online facilitation practices and the design of our online class groups. I can see how CoI could easily apply to a class led by L&D or a SME or a professional/leadership development program in an organizational context where there is a person or people designated as facilitators/teachers (I agree that this term is probably not helpful in a business context). It would be interested to talk to facilitators about the CoI framework in order to help them think about how they as facilitators have a role in creating a community of inquiry; especially if there is an expressed learning goal / outcome that the participants in the class are working towards. In particular, how might more formal learning events within organizations be set up in a ways that help employees become self-directed learners outside of those time-boxed events/classes? A key component in the CoI framework is helping learners assume responsibility for their own learning on an ongoing basis (Garrison, 2011, p. 11).
But what happens when you start looking at the applications of this model outside of a formal, structured course as you ( ) have done in this post? Things get more murky.
My colleagues and and I have been working on measuring whether and how self-directed, informal learning is happening within the program’s online social learning community outside of formal class groups. Just as you have laid out in this post, we have also been asking ourselves what constitutes “teaching presence” when you attempt to use this model to observe/measure what is happening in the self-directed areas of an enterprise social network / learning community. Even though our online learning community is within an academic setting, the parts that are public to the whole community (interest groups, a “water cooler”, personal blogs, personal status updates and more) sit above and across the private class groups that also reside in this community. This makes aspects of our community more like a leadership development / community of practice within an organization. Participation in the open parts of the online community is voluntary and there isn’t a teacher facilitating the interaction. But does the teaching presence part of this model just go away in this context? I don’t think so, although it may not play out in all the ways that is described in the model. It might be something related but different.
A few questions that are forming for me are:
1. In an online community / enterprise social network could anyone demonstrate “teaching presence" in a given discussion or CoP? My colleague Kimberly Scott posited today that there needs to be intent to help others learn and then to help facilitate that process in order to deem a particular action/post as “teaching presence”. Otherwise the online interaction is either classified as “social presence” or “cognitive presence”.
2. What actions taken by a community manager (an increasingly common role within organizations that use enterprise social networks / collaboration tools) could be classified as “teaching presence”? I think there is likely a different term that would need to used here but many of the behaviors and actions of a community manager align with what is described as teaching presence in the CoI framework. For example, community managers curate and share content, monitor activity, measure activity, moderate, promote productive behaviors, facilitate introductions, and manage community policies (The Community Roundtable, 2014). It could be argued that all of these behaviors fall into the Facilitating Discourse and Instructional Design and Organization parts of the Teaching Presence element of the CoI framework. I wonder if there could be an expanded view of this community manager role that includes a more explicit goal of facilitating learning. I’m going to try to explore this community manager role in greater depth during #msloc430 after reading a blog post by , another #msloc430 participant, titled '4 takeaways about investing in online learning community': https://kjeannette.wordpress.com/2015/01/20/4-takeaways-about-community-management-in-building-learning-community/. 's response to Karen’s blog where she questions the term 'community manager' is thought provoking for me as I have been seeped in the community management space for a few years. Perhaps this is a misnomer just as I think ‘knowledge management’ is a misnomer. Putting ‘manager' or ‘management' after anything that describes something that isn’t easily managed raises red flags.
3. In D. Randy Garrison’s book (2011) about the Community of Inquiry framework he says this about teaching presence: “There is always a need for an instructor or facilitator to structure, shape, and assess the learning experience, if it is to be more than an informal or fortuitous learning experience” (p. 83). Does this imply that the CoI should only be applied to formal classes that have instructors/facilitators in schools, colleges and organizations? Or is there a modified version of the CoI where 'teaching presence' is replaced with ‘community manager presence’ when we are talking about informal social learning? Can deep learning happen in a non-mandatory online space without formal teaching presence?
4. What if there were an attempt to provide environments in organizations that attempted to create shared understanding (a goal of CoI) as opposed to just exchanging information? It would likely have to be in the service of something larger that aligns with the company’s strategy (innovation, creativity maybe?) in order to sell the concept of CoI as a useful framework. More likely, CoI is probably another framework for L&D and KM professionals to have in their toolkit but they may just use it to inform an overall learning philosophy or learning practices.
I’ve had various thoughts related to CoI outside of formal classes and community management rattling around in my brain this week so thank you for writing this post. Writing this response has helped me push my thinking forward a bit. I hope to continue to explore this area over the next several weeks and beyond.
Garrison, D. R. (2011). E-Learning in the 21st century: A framework for research and practice. Taylor & Francis.
The Community Roundtable. (2014, April 22). The State of Community Management 2014. Retrieved from http://www.slideshare.net/rhappe/the-state-of-community-management 2014/43
ccFeb 4, 2015
Thank you for such a beautifully articulated and well considered response. Your comments above have clarified several issues for me and brought up some new ones. I think I need to let your material steep (like a fine tea) for a while before I try to pour out anything in response.Feb 4, 2015
- This discussion has really gotten me thinking about CoI's, community facilitation, role of communities in workplaces and in MOOCs. As #cmgr on an enterprise collaboration platform involves teaching, social and cognitive aspects. We don't want to use the term teaching in a #workplace_learning context but some of the activities do map. I am wondering if this framework could be used to describe the role of a community manager in an organization today? With orgs trying to implement MOOCs and bring in social learning, it may help to provide a guideline that is simple enough to implement and flexible enough to be tweaked as per context.has pointed out, are the three "presences" different frames for categorizing a community manager/facilitator's tasks? I think even in an organizational context, playing the role of aFeb 4, 2015
- Good points Cedric, that's why I left full time work to pursue my own freelance consulting business in the space of social learning. I wanted to BE that consultant to help people in the social leadership & learning space but now I'm finding that I need a way to 'explain & influence' because they assume (1) their Learning and Development department do this as their responsibility OR (2) their marketing team do this as their responsibility. What they're not seeing is that it's all new to L&D, Marketing is just as "lost" because to them it's all about customer conversations, click rates, community metrics and analytics but everyone is failing to see that it really impacts everyone's role; everyone's work because it's simply a new way of working and learning seamlessly together - and not the onus of one department or one person or "social champions" - although the latter do help, I'd love to see the day where we don't need specific people to "champion" anything - we just...do, share, connect, learn, create, reflect...Feb 4, 2015
- Just FYI I'm actually going through this question in real life at the mo. I'm working on a guided social learning program with Coca Cola Amatil and one part of this program is to engage the senior engineers to build, maintain and sustain their community of practice post the social learning workshop. I was asked to provide training/support so they act as "Community Managers" but now I'm having issue with the word 'management' because it denotes a top-down approach.
Also 'moderators' don't fit either.
Two words don't seem to "fit" when we're talking about equality in conversations. Moderating and managing seems to denote conversation killers.
I had to go back to Etienne Wenger and he describes it as "Learning Partnerships" - I like that. When you do research on the web around "community management" it's either focussed on 'marketing' or 'education'. So now I'm thinking, is it really just "behavioural" that is, is it about being open, asking questions, letting go of ego, consultative, helpful, sharing, working out loud, enabling...do we need to "teach" people or through our actions enable them to self direct, reflect and create the context themselves.
So I ask the question because of my own context too - the situation I'm currently in.
Do I ask these senior engineers who are very busy people to take on the additional role of a "teacher" in their online community (and the perception of it being additional to their current role and of this the role of the L&D department) or to simply teach them new skills in how to behave socially in online forums that allow for information and knowledge exchange to occur around joint/mutual workplace projects or issues.
I'm thinking a CoI is more suitable for structured learning programs when there is a gap and a "teaching" presence is needed (for example, my Work, Connect and Learn Program for CCA is where I AM that teaching presence because I'm actually teaching them something completely new. http://activatelearning.com.au/2015/01/how-working-connecting-and-learning-is-like-driving-a-car/Feb 4, 2015
- I concur with your last paragraphand the idea that this model is useful for a structured learning purpose with a formalised teaching presence (from what I have read) . That's not to say that the model cannot evolve but there seems to be an intrinsic structure and purpose in setting up the CoI. This idea was helpful to me in distinguishing it from a CoP. (I could see the CoI can have a purpose for a time within a CoP!)Feb 5, 2015