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 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)

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 ten 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 ten 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.

Structure and assessment

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.

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. 


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.