The Influence of Contextual Variables on Teaching, Social, and Cognitive Presence in Adult Students

Michael Thomas Walsh, Fordham University

Abstract

This study examined the role of contextual variables in the development of cognitive presence in adult students. Research has shown that the context of the learning environment significantly affects the development of critical thinking skills in students enrolled in online classes. Previous studies failed to fully examine the role of context and the effect that it has on critical thinking skills for non-traditional students. Given the dramatic increase in online learning, this creates a serious threat to the quality of education and the mastery of critical thinking. Using the Community of Inquiry as a theoretical framework, this study was motivated by one overarching research question: To what extent do contextual variables play a role in the development of cognitive presence in adult students? Using descriptive statistics and multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA), two groups of non-traditional, online learners were compared to identify the impact context played in developing critical thinking skills. Data revealed interaction effects that were significant between program type and work experience level. The research suggested that a student’s program type and work experience level directly influenced self-reported measures of social presence and cognitive presence in the Community of Inquiry framework as well as the triggering, exploration, and resolution phases of the Practical Inquiry Model.^

Subject Area

Pedagogy|Education|Adult education|Educational psychology|Educational technology

Recommended Citation

Walsh, Michael Thomas, "The Influence of Contextual Variables on Teaching, Social, and Cognitive Presence in Adult Students" (2019). ETD Collection for Fordham University. AAI13419397.
https://0-fordham.bepress.com.library.simmons.edu/dissertations/AAI13419397

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