LACOI: Representation of a Community of Inquiry
in Cooperative Online-based Courses
through Learning Analytics


FWF - Austrian Research Agency (P 32915-G)


2020 - 2023

Cooperation with:

Dr. Leah Macfadyen, The University of British Columbia

Project members at IIG

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.Werner Hackl, Verena Dornauer, Lisa-Maria Norz, Eva Kaczko


Wider research context: From a socio-constructivist point of view, learning requires activity, self-regulation, and cooperation among students. Online-based learning environments in higher education offer great flexibility to students, but are challenging in fostering such cooperative learning. The Community of Inquiry (CoI) is an established and effective framework on fostering effective cooperative learning in virtual learning environments. Learning Analytics provides approaches to measure the CoI. However, an automated analysis and visualization approach of the CoI is still lacking which prevents real-time monitoring of courses. In addition, it is unclear which actionable advice can be derived from CoI analysis to directly improve teaching and learning. Our idea is to build CoI dashboards using learning analytics. We will then evaluate whether this has an impact on teaching, learning process, or learning outcome.

Research questions:

  1. Is it possible to develop a comprehensive, automated representation and visualization of the Community of Inquiry (CoI) and its three dimensions for individual online-based courses by combining and extending approaches from learning analytics?
  2. Does the visualization of the CoI in a teacher dashboard, combined with actionable advice, has any impact on teaching?
  3. Does the visualization of the CoI in a student dashboard, combined with actionable advice, has any impact on student self-regulation, learning process, or learning outcome?

Approach & methods: We will first select and extend established quantitative and qualitative learning analytics methods for automated process analysis, content analysis, and social network analysis to analyse the three dimensions of CoI for an individual course. We will develop a coherent visualization of the CoI results in student and teacher dashboards, including actionable advice, based on a user-centred design approach. We will perform subsequent validation studies to assess their acceptability and perceived impact on teaching and learning.

Level of originality & innovation: The project provides the following innovations: First, a framework for automated real-time analysis and visualization of CoI in cooperative online-based courses. Second, a prototype of a CoI student and teacher dashboard providing actionable advice. Third, generating evidence on user satisfaction and the perceived impact of such dashboards. The results will help to better understand and improve cooperative online-based learning in higher education and inform the development of new-generation learning analytics tools.



(please find a complete list of publications in our list of publications)