IH Certificate in Online Tutoring

The aim of the IH COLT course is to train tutors in techniques and approaches to online tutoring for both student-oriented and teacher-oriented courses in Virtual Learning Environments. The course focuses on the demands of the asynchronous environments and how this is different from face-to-face teaching. In addition, the course looks at the various ways synchronous tools can be used for teaching face to face online.

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

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 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
  • Qualified tutors who are interested in training teachers online
  • Experienced teacher trainers looking at moving into online training.
  • Teachers or tutors who are interested in designing online teaching courses (please note the course is not explicitly about course design)
  • 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 one week period for you to finish off tasks and put together your final assessment portfolio. During this wrap up week there is no additional input.

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.  Module one ends with an optional synchronous meeting.

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. Towards the end of this module there is a chance for an optional synchronous session with one of the tutors.

This module lasts seven days.

Module Three: Synchronicity

Module three compares the difference between synchronous online learning and asynchronous. As well as guided input, the participants will work together to explore a synchronous platform of choice. Participants will also be asked to design and present a task either to their peers or as part of an optional online meeting that takes place during the module.

This module lasts 11 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. We end the input by taking stock of what we have covered and discuss how this might fit into any online plans we or a school might have.

This module lasts seven days.


The course is run entirely online by qualified online tutors. There are a few optional synchronous meetings led by tutors and participants. These are not compulsory but you are strongly encouraged to take part to make the most of the course. There are also a few collaborative tasks which require you to work closely with other participants.


Participants submit a course portfolio comprising a set of compulsory tasks to be externally moderated. These are usually one practical and one reflective task per module of the course

This is a pass / fail course with success being determined by both successful completion of portfolio tasks and contributing to a minimum of 80% of the course.


There are usually at least two tutors per course with the number of participants usually ranging from 12 to 16 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.


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.