This post relies heavily on the wonderful article: Roles and Competencies of the e-Tutor,  by Brigitte Denis, Philip Watland, Sébastien Pirotte and Nathalie Verday, presented in Networked Learning Conference 2004.

The role of a coordinator (or e-Tutor), during an e-Learning process, is central to the learning process. e-Learning is a process for training people from a distance. And because this model of learning differs from the traditional one, a large part of the success of the process lies in the coordinator.

The 11 Hats Of An Online Learning Coordinator

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A coordinator in a learning procedure from a distance should offer coordination, motivation, and incentives to promote the learning, towards specific goals.

He/she relies on the training strategy been chosen for a specific course and tries to maximize the outputs of the process, on behalf of his/hers attendees.

During this process, he/she have to assume different, and sometimes, district roles, that would permit him/her to deliver the maximum effect towards the users of the process.

A coordinator in a distance learning process  is basically a leading part of the process and should he/she use different roles, according to the situation at hand.

International literature separates 2 different basic categories of roles, a coordinator should employ in an e-Learning procedure. Central and Periphery roles.

The central roles of a coordinator, based on the interaction among involved parties. These are:

  • content facilitator: the coordinator help users to understand better the topics at hand, providing more information, clarification, and explanations.
  • metacognition facilitator: the coordinator encourages the reflection of the learning process, providing goals, outcomes, skill development paths, aiming at the best comprehension of the subjects be covered.
  • process facilitator: the coordinator provides operational support towards learners, help them in the learning process and removing the obstacles may arise in the course.
  • advisor/counsellor: the coordinator provides advice, mentoring, facilitation, coaching and support to the learners, during the entire course.
  • assessor (formative and summative): the coordinator is responsible for offering the necessary feedback to the learners, on their progress, incentives to motivate them towards desired directions, guidance to support them in fill in the monitored knowledge or skills gaps, assignments for evaluation and re-evaluation, etc.
  • technologist: the coordinator usually is the main doorway for helping the learners to handle and use the technologies and tools used during the course.
  • resource provider: the coordinator in an online course is responsible for providing all the necessary resources (references, archives, etc) deemed as necessary for the learners, to complete their assignments and master the topics covered in the course.

Along with the Central roles of an online coordinator, there are, as well, and Peripheral Roles. These are:

  • manager/administrator: the coordinator is responsible for the management of an online course, monitoring, evaluating, checking and re-adjust its flow, if deemed necessary.
  • designer: a coordinator in an online course, often, functions as instructional designer providing help, experience, goals, and learning activities during the development of the online course.
  • co-learner: the coordinator, usually, is a part of the group of learners, follow their steps, monitoring the problems, maybe, arise and learning, as well, the subjects covered.
  • researcher: a coordinator, usually, is a pro-active participant and researcher in the online learning process, trying to merge in the learning process, knowledge, skills, attitudes and experience that would support more efficiently the learning process.

All these roles, competencies, attitudes, and skills play a, more or less, vital role in the success of a coordinator in an online learning course. Even though many of them are considered, the most of the time, by the e-Tutors, as not vital, have all a major effect on the performance output of a leader or coordinator of an e-Learning process and, if well mastered, can contribute to a successful learning process.

What role and competencies, an online learning coordinator should have and why? Do you think, that these roles covered the whole subject, or perhaps there are more roles, an online learning coordinator, should assume? Please comment.