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Both Salmon’s (2006) Five Stage Model of e-moderating and the Community of Inquiry (COI) framework, as outlined by Vaughan, Cleveland-Innes, and Garrison (2013) are frameworks that assist educators in creating and facilitating online learning environments. Although they share common principles, such as creating an environment that is conducive to learning, encouraging discussion, and assessing the learning process, they also have distinct differences.

Salmon’s Five Stage Model is based on a linear and sequential progression of online learning. It starts with gaining access and motivation, then socializing, exchanging information, constructing knowledge, and finally, developing. It emphasizes the significance of building a supportive online community, active participation, and promoting critical thinking and collaboration. (Salmon, 2006)

The COI framework, on the other hand, focuses on creating and maintaining a community of inquiry where learners engage in meaningful dialogue, critical reflection, and collaborative problem-solving. It provides a set of principles and guidelines for fostering a supportive and intellectually stimulating online environment rather than being prescriptive or linear. (Garrison, 2007; Vaughan et al., 2013)

The two frameworks differ in their approach to facilitation. Salmon’s model highlights the role of the e-moderator in guiding learners through the stages of online learning, while the COI framework emphasizes shared responsibility and collaboration among participants. Additionally, the COI framework focuses more on cognitive, social, and teaching presence, while Salmon’s model concentrates more on the practical aspects of facilitating online discussions.

In conclusion, both the Five Stage Model of e-moderating and the COI framework provide valuable guidance for educators in facilitating online learning environments. While they share some common principles, such as creating a supportive and intellectually stimulating online community, they also have distinct differences in their approach to facilitation and the overall structure of the learning process. Educators can utilize elements from both frameworks to create effective and engaging online learning experiences for their students.


Garrison, D. (2007). Online community of inquiry review: social, cognitive, and teaching presence issues. Journal of Asynchronous Learning Networks, 11 (1), 61-72. Retrieved from https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ842688.pdf

Vaughan, N. D., Cleveland-Innes, M., & Garrison, R.D. (2013). Facilitation. In Teaching in blended learning environments: Creating and sustaining communities of inquiry (pp.45-62). Athabasca, AB: Athabasca University Press. Retrieved from http://www.aupress.ca/books/120229/ebook/03_Vaughan_et_al_2013-Teaching_in_Blended_Learning_Environments.pdf CC BY-NC-ND 2.5 CA

Salmon, G. (2006). 80:20 for e-moderators. In: The challenge of ecompetence in academic staff development . CELT, NUI Galway, Galway, Republic of Ireland, pp. 145-154. Retrieved from https://eprints.usq.edu.au/18862/2/Salmon_Ch16_2006_PV.pdf

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