IH Certificate in Online Tutoring

The aim of the IH COLT course is to train primarily teachers and teacher trainers in techniques and approaches to online tutoring for both student-oriented and teacher-oriented courses in Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). The course focuses on the demands of working both in the synchronous and asynchronous environments.

Click here to read testimonials from people who have recently completed this course in 2020. 

In this video Emma Cresswell, who has completed the COLT and is now a tutor, tells us more about what to expect from this course.

Who is it for?

  • Experienced teacher trainers looking at moving into online training and those who would like to become a tutor on the online version of the CELTA course

  • Experienced language teachers who are interested in teaching students online

  • Teachers and educators now working online as a result of COVID-19

  • Tutors delivering online courses through universities or other larger organisations

The IH COLT is one of the Cambridge approved courses for becoming an online CELTA trainer.

This course is designed for teachers looking to deliver lessons online and also for more experienced teachers interested in working as online tutors and trainers. The main difference between the two roles is that an online tutor supports groups on an online course (e.g. the Cambridge online CELTA) rather than simply delivering an EFL lesson online. To tutor on an online course you need the skills required to moderate discussion forums and ensure that everyone is participating and feeling included, much like classroom management in the traditional classroom. However, online teaching can take place in real time with your learners using apps such as Skype or Google Hangouts or asynchronously on a VLE like Moodle.

Find out more from Emma in the video below on whether the COLT can benefit you.


The course consists of 4 modules of input varying in length. The modules are spread out over a 5-week period. There is a further two-week period for you to write your final assignment.

Module One: Setting the Right Climate

In this module, we explore the importance of establishing and sustaining a supportive community on an asynchronous course. Module one looks at how students create their profiles through to introductions and site navigation. It also introduces the concept of netiquette and explores issues such as safeguarding in online lessons.

This module lasts seven days.

Module Two: Basic Tutoring Skills

In the first group task of the course, this module familiarises participants with key terminology surrounding asynchronous platforms. We look at techniques for monitoring our students in the online environment and how to ensure participants are involved. We’ll also look at how to craft messages and the reasons for sending them.

This module lasts seven days.

Module Three: Synchronicity

Module three introduces synchronous online learning. It considers the equipment needed and what constitutes good teaching in this medium. As well as guided input, the participants will work together to explore a synchronous platform of choice. Having done so, the module continues by breaking down the various tools of online platforms and how we might use them effectively in online teaching. Finally the module considers different lesson shapes before asking participants to design and present a task to their peers.

This module lasts 14 days.

Module Four:  And In Summary

We bring down the curtain on the course by looking at one of the hardest asynchronous skills to learn – weaving. In addition, this module also implicitly addresses some of the potential ‘new norms’ of education such as balancing online and face to face classes and ends with a discussion with copyright online.

This module lasts seven days.


The course is run entirely online by qualified online tutors. All course input and tasks are delivered asynchronously meaning you can work to your schedule. Though there are a few collaborative tasks which require you to work closely with other participants. There will also be a minimum of two optional synchronous sessions two provide an opportunity for course Q&A.


This is a pass / fail course with success being determined by:

  • A minimum participation of 80 percent of the course
  • Completion of four reflective tasks over the duration of the course
  • A final reflective assignment due no later than two weeks after the end of module five.


There are usually at least two tutors per course with the number of participants usually ranging from 12 to 18 with 8 being the minimum. Our tutors are all online trainers with many years of experience.

Meet our online course tutors.

Time commitment

A minimum of 50 hours over 5 - 6 weeks, including online and offline work. The course is usually broken down into 5 phases with approximately 2 hours’ work per day, but the timetable is flexible.

What is the one thing that is unique about this course?

The skills required to teach or tutor in the virtual environment are different to those used in the traditional classroom. The IH COLT course gives you the opportunity to explore and experiment with new ideas and approaches allowing you to build your confidence so that once you finish the course, you feel ready to apply them in your own context.

Course dates

All course dates are subject to a further two weeks at the end of the course for participants to complete the final assignment. This is not included in the dates below.

  • 3rd October – 14th November 2020
  • 14th November – 27th December 2020
  • 16th January - 20th February 2021
  • 27th February 2021 – 3rd April 2021
  • 10th April 2021 – 15th May 2021 
  • 22nd May 2021 – 26th June 2021 
  • 3rd July 2021 - 7th August 2021 
  • 4th September 2021 – 9th October 2021 
  • 16th October 2021 – 20th November 2021 


The course fees stated here are inclusive of 20% VAT.  The 20% VAT will not be charged if the fee is paid by a registered business outside the UK.

Course fees must be paid in full prior to the start date.