Considering the Community of Inquiry Framework in Online Engineering Education
Paper i proceeding, 2022

This Research Full Paper presents a semi-systematic literature review of the application of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) framework in online engineering education. In a generally undertheorized field, the CoI framework has gained considerable attention as a theoretical and methodological means to understand and facilitate learning experiences in online learning environments. However, despite excellent contributions in both these areas, there is a concern about the effect of the disciplinary context and there are calls for more studies investigating disciplinary differences and blended learning environments. We observe that no study to date has tried to summarize and synthesize CoI’s application in engineering education, making informed judgments about its potential for educational research and practice in this particular context difficult. This review aims to contribute to closing this gap. Based on the reviewed articles, we conclude that CoI is a promising framework not only as an evaluation tool for online and blended learning environments in engineering education, but also for the design of online engineering courses that want to build their learning design on a collaborative constructivist view of learning. Due to the relatively limited number of CoI-based studies in online engineering education, we conclude that more research of CoI is needed in the field, especially in specific learning contexts. Compared to the richness of the general literature on CoI and in other fields, the utilization of CoI in engineering education is still very new and appears to still be in a junior state. We suggest several directions for improvement and further research both in order to foster CoI’s theoretical development as well as to provide practical guidance for the design of engineering specific learning environments based on reliable and valid research.


blended learning

online learning

Community of Inquiry

engineering education


Yihua Zhang

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Ingenjörsutbildningsvetenskap

Christian Stöhr

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Ingenjörsutbildningsvetenskap

Susanne Strömberg Jämsvi

Högskolan i Borås

Jens Kabo

Chalmers, Vetenskapens kommunikation och lärande, Ingenjörsutbildningsvetenskap

Proceedings - Frontiers in Education Conference, FIE

15394565 (ISSN)

9781665462440 (ISBN)

Frontiers in Education (FIE)
Uppsala, Sweden,




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Pedagogiskt arbete



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