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Learners' Perspectives on what is Missing from Online Learning: Interpretations through the Community of Inquiry Framework

  • Emma J. Stodel University of Ottawa
  • Terrie Lynn Thompson University of Alberta
  • Colla J. MacDonald University of Ottawa
Keywords: Online learning, learners’ perspectives, community of inquiry framework, cognitive presence, social presence, teaching presence


Despite the success that instructors and learners often enjoy with online university courses, learners have also reported that they miss face-to-face contact when learning online. The purpose of this inquiry was to identify learners’ perceptions of what is missing from online learning and provide recommendations for how we can continue to innovate and improve the online learning experience. The inquiry was qualitative in nature and conducted from a constructivist perspective. Ten learners who had indicated that they missed and/or would have liked more face-to-face contact following their participation in an online course were interviewed to elicit responses that would provide insights into what it is they miss about face-to-face contact when learning online. Five themes emerged: robustness of online dialogue, spontaneity and improvisation, perceiving and being perceived by the other, getting to know others, and learning to be an online learner. Garrison and colleagues’ (Garrison, Anderson, & Archer, 2000) community of inquiry framework was used to interpret the findings.
How to Cite
Stodel, E. J., Thompson, T. L., & MacDonald, C. J. (2006). Learners’ Perspectives on what is Missing from Online Learning: Interpretations through the Community of Inquiry Framework. The International Review of Research in Open and Distributed Learning, 7(3).
Research Articles