The role of the tutor in e-learning

Nice article in the site of the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya.

Only in Spanish, but there goes the abstract in English:

The role of the tutor in e-learning
by Javier Martínez


The role of the motivator/tutor in the world of e-learning is the subject of permanent, heated debate. But what I find perhaps most surprising is that no one considers or questions the role of the teacher in face-to-face education. Far less is the role of the learner ever discussed. There are not even any doubts about what learning means, what intelligence and knowledge are, when in fact we know very little about the subject. It seems to me that the role of the online tutor is the same as that of the face-to-face teacher: to help learners learn and, in particular, to help people learn to think and decide for themselves and, ideally, foster in them the love of learning. As I will argue in the pages that follow, I believe that, particularly, the tutor has two key roles:

1. Providing feedback.
2. Managing and strengthening relationships between people.

I think the reason is obvious. Tutors are going to have to specialise in what they are better than computers at. Aspects such as relating to others, communicating effectively, functioning in today’s complex society and managing stress are crucial and involve a major human component. We can have computers searching for, storing, memorising and providing us with information while as people we can devote our time, effort and minds to thinking, dreaming and imagining. We need to let computers do the dirty work.


If you need to cite this article in a formal way (i.e. for bibliographical purposes) I dare suggest:

Peña-López, I. (2004) “The role of the tutor in e-learning” In ICTlogy, #5, February 2004. Barcelona: ICTlogy.
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