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Introduction to e-coaching handbook

One of our core activities within the Capacity Building Pillar of the ACCESS project is the development of a theory-based yet practical e-coaching concept that aids in facilitating teaching and learning for both lecturers and students. In times of rapidly changing societal and technological developments, learning processes are no longer limited to physical classrooms. Learners and teachers are increasingly separated by time and space. This new reality presents challenges and complexities, as more information needs to be processed faster and new tasks must be completed. Innovative concepts, such as e-coaching, can help learners and teachers manage this complexity more effectively. We have developed an e-coaching handbook within our extended ACCESS network. This handbook is the result of collaborative efforts by universities from Poland, Finland, Greece, and Germany. It details how these institutions have created training materials and e-learning courses to effectively engage students through remote learning.

The core content of the handbook explores various theoretical perspectives on teaching and learning in higher education, such as andragogy, constructivist learning, experiential learning, and transformative learning. These theories provide a solid foundation for integrating coaching into educational practices, thereby enhancing student engagement and learning outcomes, which is essential for increasing the employment opportunities of African students. The handbook defines coaching, distinguishing it from related fields like mentoring and counselling, and presents a range of coaching approaches, including psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural, solution-focused, and positive psychology coaching. Each approach offers strategies for teachers to support students' personal and professional development.

In the context of higher education, the handbook discusses integrating coaching practices, highlighting their similarities and differences with traditional education methods. It introduces an e-coaching framework based on established models like the Community of Inquiry and Gilly Salmon’s five-stage model, which are crucial for designing effective e-coaching courses. Practical e-coaching methods are introduced, offering instructional strategies such as the Flipped Classroom, e-portfolios, service learning, and problem-based learning. These techniques foster a more interactive and engaging learning environment for students, enhancing their skills and employability. To support these methodologies, the handbook reviews a wide range of digital tools and applications that facilitate e-coaching. These include communication platforms, presentation tools, collaboration tools, and project management tools. Each tool is evaluated for its effectiveness in enhancing the e-coaching experience in higher education institutions.

In an era where remote learning has become essential, our handbook offers valuable insights and practical guidance to help educators, administrators, and students navigate the digital transformation in education. By building on the approaches presented in this handbook, we can create a more connected, dynamic, and effective educational environment that contributes to skills support and career enhancement for students in African higher education institutions. We encourage all members of the ACCESS network and beyond to explore this handbook and discover the methodologies it offers.

You can download the full e-coaching handbook by clicking here.