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E-Tutors’ Pedagogical Practices in a Selected Open and Distance Learning University in South Africa

Poomoney Govender


With the rapid growth of technology and educational innovations, e-tutoring is gaining widespread recognition among researchers and educators in an open distance learning (ODL) environment. Given the expanding interest and demand for e-tutoring, coupled with the growing concern that there are no significant differences in learning outcomes between face-to-face instruction and online teaching, it has become imperative to investigate the pedagogical practices of e-tutors. It is against this background that the study was conducted to investigate e-tutors’ practices in the facilitation of learning in an ODL environment. This study followed a qualitative research approach using a case-study design, which included six e-tutors from a selected module in an undergraduate programme in the Department of Early Childhood Education. Data was collected through open-ended questionnaires and document analysis of discussion forum postings from the e-tutor sites. The study showed that the pedagogical strategies used by e-tutors are not fully aligned to the principles of ODL instruction and this compromised the quality of teaching and learning. Based on these findings, recommendations are made for the professional development of both academics and e-tutors. 

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