The tutor’s contribution to the distance learning process: two experiments



di Laudadio A.1, Renzi P.1, Ferlazzo F.1
1. Faculty of Psychology 2, “La Sapienza” University of Rome

Distance learning handbooks devote full sections to describing the tutor’s function and frequently describe how a good tutor should “be” and what the tutor should “do”. Concurrently, however, it should be noted that the tutor is very rarely the object of scientific enquiry and the tutor’s usefulness within the learning process is somewhat taken for granted. No studies can be found focusing on “when” the tutor is useful and what is the “extent” of the tutor’s function and contribution. To answer these questions, two experiments were conducted.
The first experiment was meant to measure learning in two groups of students participating in the same distance learning course. The two groups were balanced in age and IT skills, the only difference being the presence or lack of a tutor. The group with a tutor exhibited better learning performance. Equally in the second experiment, learning was measured in two student groups. In the latter case, groups differed in their having one or two tutors. The experiment showed no significant differences in the learning between the two groups.
The speech will illustrate details of methodologies and results of both experiments.