learning (which involves both campus and online dimensions) provides learners
with the flexibility many people crave for.  In this topic I have learnt the importance of
providing online learners a structured developmental process. Salmon (2013) suggests
a five stage model for successful online learning. This model provides ideas for
supporting learners through a 5-staged structured developmental process i.e., access
and motivation, online socialization, information exchange, knowledge
construction and finally development. In stage one, it is recommended that accessibility
to study platform, materials etc. be as easy as possible to learners especially
in the very beginning. Help and support for IT related and other issues are also
important. Such accessibility and support can contribute to keeping learners
motivated and staying through to the end of the course. In stage 2, my role as
a teacher (e-moderator, if you like) is again emphasized as the teacher is
expected to help learners interact with one another through a web of
activities. Many learners bring with them individual anxieties and hopes and
each learner has something to contribute. It is important that I, as the
instructor, is aware that learners bring with them individual baggage which may
constitute barriers to their learning and eventually completing the course (e.g.
fears, anxieties, experiences, hopes etc). This awareness is the first step
towards being able to recognize and address the fore mentioned. As students
navigate and conquer their emotional barriers, proper information exchange with
peers in the community can take place in stage 3. The confidence developed as students
overcome barriers and learn from each other is further shown in their ability
to complete projects, the instructor acting only as a guide in the process. In
stage 5, learners can apply knowledge gained from the course in relevant
contexts e.g. work.

Online learning requires maturity and is to a large extent self directed. Instructors can however ease the process by being present and showing guidance. Having said this, the importance of a well designed course and availability of IT-support cannot be overemphasized. One of the biggest challenges may lie in the type of IT infrastructure available in individual institutions. I personally do not think institutions should venture into web based blended learning without having a strong IT infrastructure or support system. This is because no matter how well designed the course is, minor technological issues may disrupt the smooth flow of a course thereby causing frustrations among learners and possible poor reviews. The frustrations may become distractions from satisfactorily achieving the intended learning outcomes.


Salmon, G (2013) The Five Stage Model. Retrieved May 17 from:

Design for online and blended learning