Cognitive presence refers to the extent to which participants, both participants and teaching staff, are able to construct meaning through sustained communication. This kind of communication, as opposed to one-way dissemination of information, encourages critical thinking.
Cognitive presence is not a 'one off event', rather it is better seen as a series of steps.
Students are most likely to engage with these steps in the correct order if the teaching framework is designed with a logical flow:
- Triggering event (learners recognize there is a problem and have a sense of puzzlement)
- Exploration (learners use different sources and discuss with one another, or with teaching staff, to understand things better)
- Integration (learners reflect on information gathered, link ideas and try to come up with solutions)
- Resolution (learners apply knowledge they have gained to new situations; test solutions or defend them