The mediating role of learner empowerment in the relationship between the community of inquiry and online learning outcomes

Zhiru Sun, Yuqin Yang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated a rapid shift to online learning, making the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework increasingly relevant for creating meaningful and effective online learning experiences. However, the impact of CoI presences (i.e., teaching, social, and cognitive presence) on students' learning outcomes has been inconsistent in the literature, and a recent meta-analysis has identified a publication bias in this relationship, suggesting the need for a further investigation. This study aimed to enhance our understanding of how the CoI presences influence students' actual learning outcomes by incorporating learner empowerment as an essential learner characteristic. This study was conducted in two undergraduate courses that were abruptly shifted online due to the COVID-19 lockdown. Structural equation modeling was used to examine the relationship between the CoI presences, learner empowerment, and actual learning outcomes. The results show that learner empowerment has a direct and positive impact on students' actual learning outcomes, and partially mediates the relationship between CoI presences and learning outcomes. The findings highlight the significant mediating role of learner empowerment within the CoI framework and offer valuable insights into the design of productive online learning communities.

Original languageEnglish
Article number100911
JournalInternet and Higher Education
Volume58
Number of pages14
ISSN1096-7516
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2023

Keywords

  • Community of Inquiry (CoI)
  • COVID-19
  • Learner empowerment
  • Mediation analysis
  • Online learning
  • Structural equation modeling

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