3.1 Getting learners talking

The first task of an affiliated guide is to help and encourage learners to contribute to the conversations that have been encouraged by the facilitators.

You will therefore need to introduce yourself and respond to learners’ introductory postings, helping to emphasise your role as a friendly ‘face’ and foster a sense of community.

You could join in the threads and extend conversations with the learners by:

  • asking where they are from
  • commenting on shared interests
  • adding your experiences about education.

Your messages encourage people to continue conversations and join in. They should be:

  • well-placed and easily seen
  • friendly and engaging, encouraging people to maintain their conversations.


Profiles offer the opportunity to find out a little about each person and get a sense of who they are. In your profile you will need a brief note about yourself, your specialisms, the area you live in, your hobbies, etc.

It is not a CV, so it is best to keep it short and sweet. Providing a photo isn’t obligatory, but it can help people feel that they are communicating with a real person and so create a friendly atmosphere online. You should not, however, provide any personal information such as your address or telephone number.

Tone and standards

Throughout your conversations with learners your tone should be friendly and welcoming. If any conversations start to show a lack of respect of other learners’ opinions, or bad language, you may wish to comment about standards or the code of conduct for the platform you are working on. You may need to flag up these sorts of situations for a facilitator. There will be more on this subject later in the course.

3 Encouraging an online conversation

3.2 Setting out welcoming messages