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 synchronous and asynchronous environments.

Choose your dates and apply for the IH Certificate in Online Tutoring now! >>

Click here to read a testimonial from a candidate who has 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 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 

  • Tutors delivering online courses through universities or other larger organisations

The IH COLT is one of the Cambridge Assessment English-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 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 on copyright online.

This module lasts seven days.


The course is self-study with support from an online tutor and is 100% online and 100% asynchronous. This means that there is no requirement for you to be online at specific times, you work through the materials when you want. However, you must complete all tasks within the set week, and work in lock-step with your tutor group. Each week has required discussion forum input, collaborative tasks, as well as compulsory and optional activities. 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 to provide an opportunity for course Q&A.

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

  • A minimum participation of 80 per cent of the course
  • Completion of four reflective tasks over the duration of the course

You can find out about the certificate you will receive here.


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 of 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 IH COLT course is specifically recommended by Cambridge Assessment for face-to-face CELTA teacher trainers wanting to become qualified online CELTA trainers.

Course dates & fees       

  • 31st August - 5th October 2024 - £347
  • 19th October - 23rd November 2024 - £347

Fee: £347 (£295 for IH staff).*

*The course fees stated are exclusive of 20% VAT. VAT will be added to the fee if it is paid by a business or individual located in the UK. Course fees must be paid in full prior to the start date. 

There is 1 additional week after the end date of the course to complete the assessment portfolio.

How to apply

  1. Choose your dates and fill in the online application, which is sent directly to us. You will have to answer some basic questions about your qualifications and experience, but there is no need to submit any documents or proof of language level.
  2. We will review your application and get in touch if we have any queries.
  3. Once your application is approved, we will send you a payment link to pay for the course via debit/credit card. 
  4. Once the payment fee is paid (by your or your employer) we will confirm your place on the course.
  5. A few weeks before the start date we will send your login details, and you can access the platform / VLE to familiarise yourself with how it works before the course starts. We will also send you any pre-module reading materials.

There is no deadline for applying, but once we have 12 people confirmed on a course, then it is full – so it is better to send your application form in as soon as you’re interested, to secure a place on the course!

We create each new course specially for the participants, and so we need to close applications on the Wednesday before the course begins to give us time for this.