2.2 Setting out affiliated guide skills

Activity 2

Timing: (allow 15 minutes)
  1. Looking at the summaries of the affiliated guide role in Table 2, and drawing on your own experience of online conversations, decide what skills an affiliated guide needs. Some of these skills have already been listed in the table.

    It might be helpful to think of these in terms of:

    • technical skills, such as posting comments
    • social and communication skills, such as encouraging participation and respect
    • supporting skills, such as summarising, commenting on and keeping an eye on issues raised.

Table 2 Summaries of the affiliated guide role

Technical skills Communication and social skills Supporting skills
Posting comments and receiving replies Encouraging participation

Constructively adding to discussions

Encouraging further study

  1. You may wish to make a record of these in your learning log.


The list of skills you have come up with will be things that you do, such as posting comments, while others will be about how you interact with people. These ‘doing’ skills are often referred to as hard skills, whereas the skills associated with getting on with people are called soft skills. Although it can sometimes be difficult to decide which skills are hard and soft, remember that hard skills tend to produce something concrete, such as a message or a summary of a discussion.

It is also likely that these skills may change over time, with technical and communication skills required at the start of the conversation or when new people join, and the supporting skills required more as learners become involved.

If you need some more information on what type of skills count as ‘soft skills’, an online careers advice service, MindTools [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] , has some useful guidance on this.

Hard skills that you are good at might include managing the technical side of the forum, such as posting messages and being able to write effectively. Soft skills that you are good at might include being a friendly online presence and being positive about learners’ contributions. In terms of skills you need to improve, it could be that you are less good at knowing when to flag up a possible issue to a facilitator.

2.1 Understanding the skills required of an affiliated guide

2.3 Understanding the learners