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how many student per e-teacher?


Hello all!

I'm looking for some information about the role of an e-teacher (or do you call it an e-moderator?) and about the amount of students an e-teacher can handle. Does anybody know how many time is needed in general for coaching, motivating and stimulating students when they are teached to use an application?

I hope someone can help me out. Thanks in advance!


Thea van den Bosch

6 Responses

  1. numbers game
    Hi Thea,

    I have some experience of e learning moderation and it seems it depends a lot on the subject matter and the level of delegate motivation. We use an e learning platform for management development and there the numbers of interventions are moderate. One tutor to 20 / 30 learners is still not a large or time consuming task. If its applications as the content, there may be more of a need, where help desk type of calls are needed. Another factor is the quality of the content you use. A good help and faq is a must to remove the small issues so your tutor can focus on added value stuff.


  2. Teacher or facilitator?
    I think it depends on what the person in the role is there to do and the technologies employed. If they are responsible for teaching on-line and dealing with questions as they arise and you are using “live” teaching technologies such as Centra then (although there is theoretically no limit) our experience is 12-16 is the maximum – with about 6-8 actively engaged at any one time. Some of the group will sit and watch (or lurk in web terms) while the others actively participate. If the type of subject requires more of a facilitated discussion leader and you are using non-live (asynchronous) tools then larger groups are possible – although larger than 25 is probably too much. The level of active engagement seems to be lower in this type of activity and a few people will often “hog” the discussion – it is the e-moderator’s role to work to include those who are lurking but there are many less clues as to why people are not engaging when on-line than in the live classroom. You use the term e-moderator – have you seen the book by Gilly Salmon called “E-Moderating” very useful and informative. We refer to her work in our Clearworth masterclasses since we are working with and facilitating senior managers on in-company programmes to Masters level (equivalent to MBA). The nature of the topics is such that there are few “right” answers and a high need for facilitated discussion and argument. Please let me know if I can provide you with any further information.
    Clive Hook

  3. From my own experience
    My own experience is that I’m allocated 20 students with the expectation that I’ll spend 3 hours per week for the duration of the 8-9 month course. The course provider is responsible for the back-up in terms of technical helpdesk and running larger regional and national conferences for students, some of which are self-help groups. So it rather depends on how much support the course provider builds into the infrastructure. In my case, I provide mainly subject related facilitation. Marking assignments is outside the 3 hours per week.

    Hope this helps.

  4. Thoughts on numbers
    Interesting questions which you’ve raised – and I’ve enjoyed reading the comments from others too.
    In my own practice, particularly focused on running live online events, I can manage up to around 12 live participants (15 at a push and depending on the technology). With asynchronous forms of tutoring, this figure can go higher.
    A key issue for me is not the support required by the ACTIVE learner, but the critical importance of support/follow-up for the INACTIVE learner. Students who make use of the support and contact their tutor are much less of an issue that those who are making little contribution and are at risk of dropping out of the course.
    I’d be interested in stimulating some debate around this issue.

    Tim Pickles, TrainingZone Founder
    [email protected]

  5. It depends on the design

    The really important thing to consider is the design of the programme and how much “work” you expect from the moderator.

    We have worked with groups of over 100 students per moderator, (where the role is merely answering straightforward questions from the students in an asynchronous environment) to groups of as low as 3 where there is intense coaching, discussion facilitation and support.

    Sometimes you may also need to consider a minimum number of students per facilitator. If you are trying to encourage a lot of discussion and debate then you need a group of at least 10-15 people, because perhaps only half of them (or less) will be active at any one time.

    And most people have found out to their cost, that they underestimate the amount of work an e-moderator will have to do! Getting away with much less than 1-2 hours/day is unusual, and often far more than that is required. So don’t exhaust the e-moderator before the programme has started. This person is often very critical to the success of any e-learning programme.

  6. The role of an e-coach
    The role of an e-teacher
    The e-teacher /e-coach /e-moderator can take on many a role in many dimesnsions. The ideal role is to facilitate the learning process by providing the correct environment for learning to take place. This can be anything from posing questions, creating and directing discussions, providing papers and journals, providing Web links to suitable sites. The e-teacher requires a repertoire of skills to allow the student to engage in a learning process that is dialectic, depending on the level of requirement.

    The number of students is very much dependant on the approach to e-learning. If using a live classroom the technology can limit how many students can be dealt with simultaneously but generally speaking if using just collaborative software without audio and video the number of students can be limitless. I depends on the skills of the individual. If planned right – Assessments and marking can be automated. Assignments may require a little more attention than conventional means to examine the students use of the materials when using the Web.

    Stimulating students is important but is very much dependant on the individuals ability and availability of time. Learn what you want, where you want, when you want is the motto for e-learning. The processes involved are in themselves stimulating. Students are able to aid each others learning through the facilitative processes available. As a e-coach, you should ensure variation in perspective, frequency and form is encouraged.


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