The success of e-learning programs lies largely in the quality of the learning tools, but a personal support system is key to optimizing the project. There is no sense in having an e-learning program without tutoring except in the case of very short courses of study.
– E-learning managed by tutors from within the company. The tutors have the opportunity to monitor the training course, and can even automate the process by using special software tools.
– E-learning delegated to an outside company (outsourced to a training organization or content provider); this is often the case for office automation and foreign language training.
E-learning and tutoring
The tutors’ role is changing in e-learning practice. They now estimate the levels of autonomy and the possible effects of resistance to change, monitor participants throughout the training program, lead groups in virtual classes and discussions, and supervise students individually. Contrary to “traditional” teachers, tutors do not have to be experts in the field: above all, they must be able to make students comfortable using the tools, communicate effectively and, of course, have good teaching skills.
Some of the e-tutoring applications planned in the field of education:
– Putting students in touch with local language teachers who could intervene remotely in language training programs from their country of origin;
– Development of exchanges between classes in different European countries (e-twinning programs);
– Tutoring for students in rural or mountain areas, outside regular school hours;
– Tutoring for students who are hospitalized.
Tutoring assistance tools
There are several types of tutoring assistance tools for e-learning programs:
– Although the presential method remains the most effective one at the start of a training program and for true beginners (presentation of the features and the actual handling of the tool), this method can now be replaced by virtual classrooms, in particular in the case of multi-site training programs.
– Communication is an important aspect of e-tutoring: it can be carried out in a synchronous mode, with tools such as chat rooms and virtual classrooms, or in an asynchronous mode, through open forums or e-mails for individual requests… The emulation effect and group solidarity is created via collaborative tools: resource libraries, portals with personal user access.
Effective e-learning management
Whether teachers come from inside or outside the company, their feedback to the Human Resources or Education & Training department is key in confirming the entry/exit levels and in monitoring participants’ progress. A mid-course test enables the tutors to adjust the program if necessary.
Tutors must be able to interact effectively with the different participants, and even with several groups of participants of different levels. The scheduling of the work and evaluations is a critical factor: tutored content solutions enable certain tasks to be automated, including schedule management and the generation of alerts to tutors according to pre-defined rules.
These solutions are either linked to the e-learning content, or provided independently from the online learning solution.
Traditional tutoring methods still exist but it’s e-tutoring solutions that are generating all the buzz!
For more information:
School Partnerships in Europe