Date of Award

Fall 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


STEM Education & Professional Studies

Committee Director

Jill Stefaniak

Committee Member

Gail Dickenson

Committee Member

John Baaki


The cognitive apprenticeship framework melds situated, authentic learning with social learning theory. The learning strategies included in a cognitive apprenticeship are modeling, coaching, scaffolding, articulation, reflection, and exploration. Previous research indicates that the most beneficial strategy for the learner is coaching, and is also the most time-consuming strategy for the instructor. However, no previous research has been conducted to determine which coaching strategies can be utilized in order to lessen the burden on the instructor, while being beneficial to the learner.

The purpose of this study was to explore the use of guided reflective questions as a strategy for enhancing cognitive presence in peer dyad groups. These dyads were created in order to provide a platform for peer coaching in an online, asynchronous professional development course designed using the cognitive apprenticeship framework for the professional development of professional programming librarians and paraprofessional programmers.

The current study found a significant difference in cognitive presence levels between the control and treatment groups, and no significant difference in learning outcomes between the two groups. Additionally, the study highlighted the challenges faced by participants, such as lack of time to devote to professional development and lack of peer engagement from their peer coach. Participants also valued the fresh perspectives that they experienced during peer interactions and the availability of resources that were provided during the course. Discussion of the results highlights constraints, limitations, challenges, and positive aspects of participation in an asynchronous online cognitive apprenticeship. Discussion of the results also sheds light on questions worthy of future research in order to develop best practices for the use of cognitive apprenticeships in professional development and online contexts.


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