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Challenges Experienced with Online Tutoring in an ODL Institution

Yvonne T. Joubert, Annette M. Snyman


The objectives of this exploratory qualitative study were to determine the challenges of online teaching that were experienced by e-tutors in an open distance learning (ODL) institution, and to suggest possible solutions to overcome these challenges. The study was conducted with a sample of 31 (out of a total of 50) e-tutors in the Human Resource Management Department. Two main open-ended questions were sent to e-tutors in this department via email, to be completed on a voluntary basis. The results indicated that the e-tutors experience challenges such as low participation and lack of commitment by students. Students prefer to interact with the lecturers directly, there is limited or no interaction between lecturers and e-tutors, the e-tutors experience a sense of isolation and feel that their training is inadequate, and students are unclear about the role of the e-tutor, have limited access to technology and experience administrative problems. By analysing the findings of the literature review, as well as the results of the exploratory qualitative study, the researchers were able to identify the solutions by means of which an ODL institution can overcome the challenges of e-tutoring and ensure greater success for both students and the institution.


open distance learning; distance education; e-learning; e-tutoring; challenges; solutions

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