e-Modelling: helping learners to develop sound e-learning behaviours

Susan Greener

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The learning and teaching relationship, whether online or in the classroom, is changing. Mentis (2008) offers a typology of teacher roles gathered from current literature on e-learning including instructor, designer, guide, mediator, curator and mentor, which offer the university teacher a striking range of ways in which to develop relationships with students in the mutual development of knowledge and understanding. A study of Higher Education teachers in the UK proposed a shift in their role and behaviour concomitant with the explosion of VLE usage in universities (Greener 2008). As online and blended learning become familiar features in the university landscape, pedagogical discussions are being given more priority and ideas about how students can be enabled to learn appropriate skills for employability and lifelong learning, as well as higher order thinking, claim attention. Online, the teacher’s status can easily be eroded, as learners can compare teacher-designed resources with video lectures from across the world on similar topics and chat directly with experts in the field through their blogs. Teachers who are open to new ways of thinking about their subject, and welcome such self-directed behaviour from learners, are most likely to integrate new technology into their teaching (Baylor and Ritchie 2002), and their own competence with technology will be a factor in how such integration works. But it is vital in these discussions not to lose sight of classroom behaviour in the rush to develop e-moderating and blogging skills for teachers. What teachers say and do in their face-to-face classes has always had a major impact on not only what is learned but also how it is learned. Bandura suggests that most human learning is done by observing and imitating others’ behaviour (1977) provided the potential learner attends, can retain, reproduce and wants to do these things. So if we aim to integrate at least the affordances of VLEs into teaching design for blended learning, one of our considerations must be how the teacher uses the VLE in front of the learner. There is no doubt that teachers are increasingly uploading materials and weblinks etc into VLEs to support learners (or are made to by institutional policy). However there is less evidence that teachers are role-modelling effective e-learning to their learners. Some of this is about competence, but it is rare for a teacher to lack the ability to learn basic technology use. More of this reluctance is about fear and anxiety, to be shown up as incompetent in class to what are considered the net generation. This paper will explore the concepts and behaviours implied in the role-modelling of effective e-learning in the classroom, drawing on data from teachers and learners involved in using VLEs and other Web resources in face-to-face sessions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)265-272
Number of pages8
JournalElectronic Journal of e-Learning
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2009

Bibliographical note

Available online at www.ejel.org


  • role modeling, social learning theory, teaching methods, conceptions of teaching


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