Supporting Distance Learners

Are you... 

  • A tutor using electronic and Web 2.0 methods (in combination with other methods, for example print-based materials, face to face tutorials, etc.) to support distance learners?
  • A tutor using electronic and Web 2.0 methods to support learners in large classes at a face-to-face institution?
  • A tutor wanting to explore Web 2.0 for teaching and learning in either distance or contact situations?
  • Or a tutor trainer using electronic or Web 2.0 methods to support tutors who are responsible for supporting learners enrolled on conventional distance education programmes?

And do you...

  • Work in Higher Education, in a corporate setting, a government institution or NGO that is implementing distance education or blended learning?
  • Live in a developing country or a place where computers and the Internet are not yet widely accessible to the learning and teaching community?
  • Want to improve your own skills as a distance educator in the technology-enhanced world of the 21st century?
  • Want practical advice underpinned by theory, rather than an in-depth discussion of theory?

Then these course materials are for you...How can you use the course materials?Because the materials are Open Educational Resources, you can use them in courses of your own. Please see the copyright notice on the Acknowledgements page if you would like to copy or modify the materials.You can simply read the course material in this course on your own, but because online learning is most effective when there are possibilities for interaction with others online, you’ll learn the most if you organise to do a course based on these materials with others with whom you can practice using the available tools. This requires using a learning management system or community site with a range of tools to facilitate interactive learning.If you would like support in doing this course with others, please contact us at SAIDE:, or +27 11 403 2813 in South Africa. We have a Moodle site which can be used to host and manage the delivery of the course. Login as a guest to have a look at the sample course site! What do you need to know before starting?

  •  We assume that you already know a fair amount about how to teach adults. 
  • We also assume that you are knowledgeable about your subject area.
  • You need to have basic computer literacy skills, such as using the keyboard and the mouse, and finding your way (or 'navigating') through a simple website such as this one. 

What can you expect to learn?Please see the section on learning outcomes for an overview of what you can expect to learn. However, you will be encouraged to select the learning outcomes which are most relevant for you in your own situation.It's not only outcomes that help you direct your learning. The material supporting the achievement of the outcomes needs to be organised into a learning pathway. If you are doing the course along with others, your course facilitator will design a learning pathway through the course that is suited to your needs and the needs of the group. In online courses, the learning pathway is typically organised around key activities.  Please see the recommended learning pathway and activities - which you can be adapted for your context. Support for 'newbies' to the WebIf you are new to using the Web for learning and teaching, you will find some helpful videos and suggestions in the Support for tutors section.