Distance learning services are growing exponentially. It is now possible to obtain a college degree without being physically present in a classroom, either by using the internet (through visual/audio lessons) or through institutions that send study materials by post to the student and guide the learner.

Long distance tutoring requires a basic understanding of the requirements of the distance students and it is necessary to have an idea of how best to support them.

Here are some basic guidelines:

● Using the Right Technology
Technologies such as the internet and telephones are easily accessible at home. Video conferencing can be distributed from one point, i.e. from a university to isolated sites such as offices and homes. Specific sites use satellite transmissions or transmissions that can be recorded, allowing students the flexibility to view it in their own time.

Some of the best digital tutoring platforms are;
Scribblar: This offers a video interface that allows tutors to connect with students. It not only uses a whiteboard but also supports writing with the help of digital pads. It allows comments and additions from students, thereby making it convenient to work out mathematical problems.

Skype: It allows audio and video calls all over the internet. All you need is a Webcam and Internet Service.

Quickhelp: The software allows the students to put in a request and get an immediate response from tutors. This is very flexible since it has no timetable.

Many forms of distance learning methods make it possible for students to participate whenever they wish. For example, they can receive or review the podcast early in the morning or they could read email materials late in the evening.

● Structure
The structure of a learning module is important if you wish to maintain a learner’s interest. The structure should be meaningful and thought-provoking so to help the tutor assert control over the student. Distance learners may feel isolated at times and so they need close monitoring.

A few of the techniques used to ensure distance learning students stay attentive are;
• Teaching Narratives
• Textbooks and Commentary
• Action Guides and Resources

● Pacing
The learning pace of the distance student is of paramount importance. Distance learners should be informed on the amount of time they need to spend on a given lesson. Since the learners are allowed to take a break whenever they wish, they tend to lose interest.

Periodic assessment is crucial and publishing such assessments in study calendars with deadlines is one of the effective and proven methods for keeping the students in check.

The learner-to-learner and learner-to-tutor interactions are another method for ensuring a learner is working at an appropriate pace. Also, the tutor must ensure they motivate and encourage students to keep them going and respond to their doubts quickly and effectively.

● Engagement
The mode of engagement with the students is important; since students could be from anywhere, the cultural backgrounds vary in a profound manner.

The usual references or phrases the tutor uses in the traditional setting (classroom teaching) may not be relevant to an online student. Worse yet, it can be offensive too. This is why the tutor needs to be careful in their choice of language.

Long-distance tutoring may result in a learner’s isolation. However, it can definitely be enriched by improving tutor-student communication. The tips mentioned here are standard and form the basis of distance learning guidelines from the point of view of the tutors.

Maria is part of the community outreach team at Edu Aid. Maria is passionate about ongoing education at all ages, and when isn’t learning new things is a keen walker and cyclist and can be found exploring.