The Role of Tutor Development in a Flexible Learning System

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Commonwealth of Learning (COL)

PCF2 // Technikon Southern Africa defined its role as distance learning institution with the implementation of the Integrated Learner Centred Distance Learning (ILCDE) model. This model implied the establishment of regional offices as well as the implementation of a tutor system. The tutor system implied the appointment of tutors at the different regional offices. In an attempt to take the distance out of distance learning the following functions of tutors were identified: // • Telephone tutoring // • Conducting contact sessions // • Assessing assignments // The focal point of this study was tutor development within a flexible learning system as no structured learning programmes for tutors exist at TSA. The purpose was to investigate and analyse the learning needs of tutors in a flexible learning system. // Various critical questions stimulated this study. However, the following three questions formed the basis of this study: // • What is the role of training and development in the tutor system? // • Do tutors have a need for continuing professional learning programmes? If so, what should the nature of such learning programmes be? // • What should the criteria be to evaluate and monitor the development of tutors? // A qualitative research approach was followed and the data was obtained by means of interviews and participate observation sessions. The subjects of the study were the tutors of the Subject Group: Management Leadership: Policing appointed for the registration period May 1998 – May 1999. // One of the conclusions of the study was that the following processes regarding the tutor system need revising: // • Recruitment and selection // • Interviewing and appointment // • Job descriptions // • Orientation, training and development programmes // • Evaluation and monitoring programmes // • Role clarification // • Marketing strategy // The following recommendations were formulated: // • A guide for the recruitment and appointment processes of its tutors should be compiled. // • An assessment of the support needs of learners should be performed. // • Establishing a continuing professional learning unit should be considered. // • A proposal for learning interventions for continuing professional learning should be developed. //

South Africa