The five‐stage approach to e‐moderating has provided a coherent model upon which to base online learning design in higher education. However, despite its growing popularity, there are concerns that the model is becoming a dominant discourse, being adapted as a template for the design of all online teaching and learning, to the exclusion of other ideas. It is suggested that the five‐stage model may not be the panacea it appears and alternative models of e‐learning cannot be ignored. This paper reviews the five‐stage model and contrasts it with a new conceptual model, ‘the e‐learning ladder’, conceived as part of research with healthcare students in the higher education setting
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